Featherstone 12 – 38 Leigh

Leigh Centurions began their Super 8s Qualifiers campaign with a seven-try victory at the LD Nutrition Stadium, with Australian halfback Daniel Mortimer and fullback Gregg McNally leading the way.

Mortimer was an influential figure throughout after opening the scoring in the third minute and McNally scored two tries for the second game in a row to cap a lively attacking display. Cory Paterson was another stand-out as the Centurions fans went home happy with an important win that kick-starts the Super League survival battle.

Rovers, under new coach John Duffy, the former Leigh favourite, certainly tested the visitors particularly in prolonged spells of pressure either side of the interval and Centurions head coach Neil Jukes was delighted to come away with the two points.

“It was a job well done,” Jukes said. “It was important to get off to a winning start and we know how hard it is to come to this place if you are not on your game.

“We got off to a really good start and then they came back and it took a while for us to impose ourselves on the game. Full credit to Featherstone- they made it very hard for us and we made sure we prepared as thoroughly as for any game this season.

“Mortimer was good again- there is a bit of toughness about him and he is a good competitor. To the main we executed what we spoke about. Him and Josh Drinkwater were both decent and when your halves are going well you have a chance.

“But we are taking nothing for granted and know if we are not on song we will get turned over. We had some good players on the sidelines today and over the course of the Qualifiers we will need them all.”

Mortimer’s combination with Atelea Vea paid dividends for the opening try and he then created McNally’s first with a clever bouncing kick. Though Darrell Griffin ploughed over as Rovers responded, Mitch Brown did well to collect McNally’s long pass and finish a flowing move in the corner as Leigh opened up a 16-6 interval lead.

The Centurions survived a testing spell of pressure and Luke Briscoe had a try chalked off by the video referee for a knock-on while Frankie Mariano was denied a try at the start of the second half when Andy Bostock’s pass was ruled forward.

Liam Hood’s opportunism as he spotted a gap close to the line from dummy half saw Leigh stretch clear and back-to-back tries by Matty Dawson and Drinkwater midway through the second half settle the contest.

Misi Taulapapa pulled a try back for Rovers with clever footwork leaving the defence trailing , only for McNally to complete the win with ex-Leigh forward Richard Moore in the sin bin for a foul on the Leigh fullback.

Featherstone Rovers: Ian Hardman; Scott Turner, Misi Taulapapa, Josh Hardcastle, Luke Briscoe; Kyle Briggs, Anthony Thackeray; Richard Moore, Keal Carlile, Darrell Griffin, John Davies, Connor Farrell, James Lockwood. Interchange: Matty Wildie, Andy Bostock, Frankie Mariano, Sam Brooks.

Tries: Griffin (18), Taulapapa (66);
Goals: Hardman 2/ 2.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Matty Dawson, Matty Fleming, Samisoni Langi, Mitch Brown; Daniel Mortimer, Josh Drinkwater; Harrison Hansen, Micky Higham, Antoni Maria, Cory Paterson, Atelea Vea, Lachlan Burr. Interchange: Liam Hood, Greg Richards, Danny Tickle, Glenn Stewart.

Tries: Mortimer (3), McNally (7, 75), Brown (25), Hood (47), Dawson (59), Drinkwater (61);
Goals: Drinkwater 5/ 7.

Referee: James Child; Half-time: 6-16;
Attendance: 2,769.

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