Leigh going down but keep spirit up

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Leigh lost for the seventh time in as many Super League games on Good Friday, but their coach, Darren Abram, might not be the man under most pressure in the division. Leigh were beaten 35-28 at Widnes, the side immediately above them in the table, but they performed more creditably than did Warrington, beaten 42-10 at Salford.

Leigh lost for the seventh time in as many Super League games on Good Friday, but their coach, Darren Abram, might not be the man under most pressure in the division. Leigh were beaten 35-28 at Widnes, the side immediately above them in the table, but they performed more creditably than did Warrington, beaten 42-10 at Salford.

It has been a bad week at Leigh, with Jason Ferris, the Australian playmaker in whom they invested heavily for this season, flying home injured and disillusioned, while their two most active directors resigned after a boardroom row.

Had that been followed by a humiliation at Widnes, the one club genuinely within their sights as they try to climb off the foot of the table, then Abram's position could have become untenable. Defeat at the Halton Stadium adds to the inevitability that Leigh will return to National League One at the end of the season, possibly taking Widnes with them, but they at least showed some fight.

Coaches in trouble traditionally look for signs of whether players are "playing for them", and there was no evidence at Widnes that Leigh's are not doing that for Abram. They now have a run of games, however, that could all be lost heavily, starting with the visit of the London Broncos tomorrow and followed by matches against St Helens and Hull.

Nobody in their right mind expected Leigh's season to be anything other than one long struggle, but Paul Cullen's Warrington are under-performing more alarmingly. The Wolves were a popular choice as a side capable of breaking into the top six this season. Such is the buoyancy of the club off the field that making the play-offs already looked overdue.

The reality has been different. Warrington have been unimpressive and have lost five of their seven matches, culminating in Good Friday's bad day at The Willows. After that, Cullen admitted to feeling "as low as I ever want to feel", but denied any intentions of giving up. What you really fear with a record like that, however, is that the job might give up on you.

Cullen took over as Warrington's coach to great approval. After the incomprehensible Australian Steve Anderson, he seemed to mark a return to common sense. Until recently, he seemed to have enough credit with the club's supporters to weather a few defeats, but they started with high hopes for the season, and those did not include getting smashed by Salford.

Cullen has tended to blame defeats on poor finishing, but admitted that they were dominated on Friday. He has an extra day to put things right, as they play Widnes, with whom they are now bracketed on four points with only Leigh below them, on Tuesday night.

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