Play-offs split the roses

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The Independent Online

The west-east split in today's Northern Ford Premiership play-offs could not be more obvious if the Pennines ran through the middle. In the top half of the draw, there are four Lancashire clubs aiming for Super League. In the sudden-death section, there are four Yorkshire clubs without those aspirations.

The coach of the runaway table-toppers Leigh, Paul Terzis, believes the serious business begins today. "Everything we have achieved so far is a bonus," he said. Mike Ford at their opponents Oldham thinks the defeat at Hull KR last week will have benefited his side. "We learnt more from that than the 11 victories leading into it."

Leigh's biggest worry are Widnes, with play-off specialist Neil Kelly at the helm, who start their campaign against Rochdale – the surprise of the season. Under the play-off format, the losers of those two matches have a second chance against the winners of the two in Yorkshire where financially troubled Keighley may get no further than Featherstone. Roy Sampson, coach of champions Dewsbury says they face Hull KR without "the pressure on us that there was before. We can just go out and enjoy it".

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