Catalans 6 – 30 Leigh

Leigh Centurions pulled off a highly significant victory in their battle for Super League survival with a great team performance in Round 3 of the Qualifiers at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

The Centurions defied sweltering temperatures and a determined home side to earn their second away win of the season and go close to becoming the first side to nil the Dragons on their own ground.

Adam Higson’s two first-half tries set up a 10-0 interval lead and Cory Paterson added a second half brace with Josh Drinkwater notching a vital fingertip try at a crucial stage, the recalled Ben Reynolds hitting five goals.

The Dragons were restricted to a single Brayden Wiliame try with ten minutes remaining thanks to a superb defensive effort from the visitors, who also had four tries ruled out by the video referee.

Leigh made three changes from the defeat to Hull KR, Mitch Brown returning after injury to replace Matty Fleming, Sam Hopkins coming in for Danny Tickle and Daniel Mortimer switching to a hooking role as Reynolds replaced Liam Hood in the starting 17.

Catalans suffered an early injury blow when hooker Paul Aiton hobbled off with a calf injury and Leigh, beginning the game on the front foot, went ahead through Higson who touched down Drinkwater’s high kick after the ball bounced in the in-goal area with Samisoni Langi reacting first. Reynolds converted.

A long break by Paterson came to nothing before Higson extended his side’s lead midway through the first half, diving in at the left corner from Gregg McNally’s looped pass as the fullback crucially joined the attacking line.

Reynolds just failed to reach his own kick before it ran dead and with Leigh still in the ascendancy they had the agony of having two tries disallowed by video referee James Child in the same set. The first referee Phil Bentham initially ruled ‘no try’ as Glenn Stewart attempted to spin over in a three-man tackle. The second saw Mitch Brown compete for a high hanging kick and Matty Dawson claim the touchdown, again ruled out.

As Catalans came more into the game Krisnan Inu just failed to control Luke Walsh’s kick above his head with the line begging as the visitors took a 10-0 lead into the interval.

Drinkwater had claims for a try ruled out by the video referee before Paterson extended Leigh’s lead after Langi brilliantly knocked back Drinkwater’s kick into his eager grasp. Reynolds was off target with the conversion but added a 58th minute penalty after McNally was upended in the tackle by Walsh.

Drinkwater then claimed a vital fourth try just after the hour-mark, reacting ahead of Greg Bird to claim a one-handed touchdown after Mortimer’s clever kick rebounded off the post padding.

Catalans finally got on the scoresheet when Wiliame crossed in the left corner for a converted try but Richie Myler knocked-on from the re-start kick to virtually end their hopes of an amazing comeback.

Dawson had a fourth Leigh try turned down by the video referee for obstruction by Atelea Vea in the build-up but there was no doubt about Paterson’s second that ended the contest in glorious fashion for the travelling Centurions fans.

Cleverly anticipating Inu’s chip over the top, Paterson grabbed the ball midway inside his own half and raced clear of the trailing defence for a try sealed with a weary dive in the corner, Reynolds converting magnificently from the touch-line.

Leigh Centurions’ next Qualifiers game is at home to Widnes Vikings on Sunday 3rd September (3pm).

Catalans Dragons: Lewis Tierney; Vincent Duport, Krisnan Inu, Brayden Wiliame, Fouad Yaha; Luke Walsh, Richie Myler; Sam Moa, Paul Aiton, Remi Casty (capt), Louis Anderson, Justin Horo, Greg Bird.
Interchange: Julian Bousquet, Ben Garcia, Jason Baitieri, Thibaud Margalet.

Try: Wiliame (70);
Goal: Inu 1/ 1.

Leigh Centurions: Gregg McNally; Matty Dawson, Mitch Brown, Samisoni Langi, Adam Higson; Ben Reynolds, Josh Drinkwater; Harrison Hansen (capt), Daniel Mortimer, Antoni Maria, Cory Paterson, Atelea Vea, Lachlan Burr.
Interchange: Micky Higham, Glenn Stewart, Sam Hopkins, Greg Richards.

Tries: Higson (9, 20), Paterson (48, 78), Drinkwater (61);
Goals: Reynolds 5/ 6.

Referee: Phil Bentham;
Half-time: 0-10;
Penalty count: 9-7.

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