Leigh 25 – 0 Salford

Leigh Centurions ended the regular Betfred Super League season with an important victory that saw them climb above Widnes Vikings and into 11th spot.

The fixtures for the Qualifiers will be revealed by the RFL next Wednesday but Leigh will now play Widnes, Hull KR and the third-placed Kingstone Press Championship club at home.

They will be away to Warrington, Catalans, London Broncos and the fourth placed Championship team.

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-finalists Salford lost out on a top four finish after their sixth defeat in their last seven league games.

Leigh Centurions Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “We ticked nearly every box tonight. It was a derby and we didn’t want to finish bottom on our first season back in Super League.

“It was important for us to get some confidence and build momentum as we go into the next competition. I was really pleased. Our game management was good as was our defensive effort and we kicked the ball at the right time.

“We only gave away six penalties in the entire game so when you do that you have a lot of energy. The players kept turning up for each other and defended repeat sets on our line. It has given us something to build on.”

Leigh’s morale-boosting win followed a run of four successive defeats on their travels after their victory over Wigan in their previous game at LSV prior to pitch renovations.

Gregg McNally, restored to the fullback role, had a superb game, ignited by a ninth minute try from a scrum move and climaxed by a thrilling individual effort on a free play in the dying seconds.

Man of the Match Atelea Vea burst over on the right and Samisoni Langi scored his first Centurions try after another fine handling move despite the wet conditions as the home side, with three Josh Drinkwater goals, built a commanding 18-0 interval lead.

Leigh withstood a Salford bombardment at the start of the second half with some outstanding defence and finally broke the long deadlock with Drinkwater’s 75th minute drop-goal before McNally’s spectacular late try.

But the Centurions were left sweating on injuries to Gareth Hock and Ben Crooks who both limped out of the action in the first half.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Matty Dawson, Ben Crooks, Samisoni Langi, Mitch Brown; Daniel Mortimer, Josh Drinkwater; Gareth Hock, Micky Higham (capt), Antoni Maria, Cory Paterson, Atelea Vea, Lachlan Burr. Interchange: Eloi Pelissier, Danny Tickle, Greg Richards, Harrison Hansen.

Tries: McNally (9, 80), Vea (19), Langi (36);
Goals:
Drinkwater 4/ 5; Drop-goal: Drinkwater

Salford Red Devils: Niall Evalds; Greg Johnson, Kris Welham, Junior Sau, Jake Bibby; Todd Carney, Michael Dobson (capt); George Griffin, Logan Tomkins, Daniel Murray, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ryan Lannon, Weller Hauraki. Interchange: Josh Jones, Robert Lui, Olsi Krasniqi, Lama Tasi.

Referee: Jack Smith;
Attendance: 7,002;
Half-time: 18-0;
Penalty count: 8-6.

Main Match Sponsor: Anthony’s Travel
Associate Sponsor: O2 Leigh
Match Ball Sponsor: Pam Ties Ltd
Programme Sponsor: EDP

Mascots: Josh Wilkie, Phoebe Wordley, Ellie May Davies, Evie Terri Davies, Jenson Starkie

Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Atelea Vea

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