Written by John Davidson
Junior Sa’u says Leigh Centurions will prove plenty of people wrong in Super League this year despite many tipping them for relegation.
Leigh were given the nod to go up from the Championship late and have not received the same amount of central funding as the other 11 Super League clubs.
Many believe the Centurions will finish bottom and go straight back down because of this, but not their Kiwi centre.
“That’s why we play the game – to prove people wrong,” he told Everything Rugby League.
“And just for ourselves, to challenge ourselves as individuals and making sure we have the confidence within ourselves. That’s why we play the game, it’s a rollercoaster. The ups and downs. I’ve been around for a long time and for me it’s just making sure I do my part and give it 100% week-in-week-out.
“I’ve been up there [in Super League], I know what to expect. The whole plan for me was to go to Leigh and get them promoted, do my part and get them promoted last year.
“But obviously with the situation that we went through an Toronto getting let go, it gave us an opportunity. We’re grabbing it with both hands and looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
Sa’u and Leigh have not played for 12 months but the veteran admits the time away from rugby league has been good for him both physically and mentally.
“It’s been good to be honest, I would have loved to have played last year but it is what it is,” he admitted.
“It sort of game the body a bit of rest. Now all the hard work has been done. I always try and tackle every situation with a positive outcome.
“Last year everyone suffered, every family suffered, people were losing their jobs and whatnot, but for me it was just making sure how I can make the most of the situation. Spending more time with the family and getting to see what the wife gets up to.”
Sa’u has spent the past eight years in the UK, after joining Salford from Melbourne Storm in 2014.
The former Samoan international turns 34 next month and has more than 240 games under his belt, but works hard at doing extras away from training and keeping himself.
“I’ve always believed age is just a number,” he said.
“I do everything, I don’t miss training, I do all the conditioning and what not. I like doing everything that everyone else is doing, whether you’re old or young.
“For me I’ve always had the mindset that if I want to be the best I have to take my bed to a whole different place, even though I don’t like it.
“I’ve got to put myself there to get up for the season. This is what works for me. I’ve done it for a long time now and as they say don’t change something that isn’t broken.”
Sa’u is off-contract at Leigh at the end of this year. The former Newcastle and Melbourne outside back is unsure of what may lie ahead in 2022, and has yet to make any decisions, with his focus purely on performing for the Leythers.
“My mind, my body and my mental side is going pretty well at the moment,” he said.
“But in terms of playing next year, I’m not too sure about it. I said to my wife I’ll play it by ear. But in the meantime the body’s feeling good, the mind’s feeling. I’m turning 34 this year but I still feel like I’m 18, which is a good sign.
“I’m not looking to what’s going to happen next year, my main focus is making sure that I’m giving 100% for Leigh and making sure I’m staying consistent.”