Leigh 10 – 26 Catalans

Leigh Centurions were relegated from the Betfred Super League after suffering defeat against Catalans Dragons at LSV in the Million Pound Game.

Despite tries by wingers Matty Dawson and James Clare early in each half the Centurions were hit by a dominant Dragons side in the second half who came back from trailing 10-4 to post 22 unanswered points.

Fullback Lewis Tierney, on loan from Wigan, scored two tries inside nine minutes and halfback Luke Walsh kicked four penalties as the visitors saved their Super League skin.

After dominating the second half penalty count Fouad Yaha completed the Dragons’ victory with a late try.

Leigh had started strongly with Dawson finishing off a flowing move in the corner as the near 7,000 crowd cheered on the home side.

But Catalans gradually got a hold on the game and finally pierced a strong home defence through Iain Thornley’s try late in a rugged and tense first half.

Clare extended his scoring sequence to six tries in five games to give his side a great start to the second half before the Dragons turned the screw.

Leigh Centurions head coach Neil Jukes told the BBC: “There are guys in the changing room who are tough men and they’re crying.

“There’s got to be a way for clubs to get up, but ultimately people lose jobs and that’s sickening.

“This was all about not losing a game. The uncertainty surrounding this situation is ridiculous.

“You talk a lot about player welfare and mental health but that comes around job security so this is hypocritical of what we stand for.”

Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara said: “We probably produced our best performance of the season under the most extreme pressure.

“There’s lots of tears in the dressing room. They’re tears of relief. There was a release of a huge amount of tension from everybody involved.

“I thought our players showed huge respect at the end of the game and I was pleased about that.”

Leigh Centurions: Ryan Hampshire; Matty Dawson, Ben Crooks, Matty Fleming, James Clare; Ben Reynolds, Josh Drinkwater; Antoni Maria, Micky Higham (capt), Danny Tickle, Cory Paterson, Glenn Stewart, Lachlan Burr. Interchange: Liam Hood, Sam Hopkins, Harrison Hansen, Greg Richards.
Tries: Dawson (7), Clare (44);
Goals: Reynolds 1/ 2.

Catalans Dragons: Lewis Tierney; Vincent Duport, Brayden Wiliame, Iain Thornley, Fouad Yaha; Luke Walsh, Richie Myler; Sam Moa (capt), Paul Aiton, Julian Bousquet, Louis Anderson, Justin Horo, Greg Bird. Interchange: Benjamin Garcia, Jason Baitieri, Lucas Albert, Thibaut Margalet.

Tries: Thornley (35), Tierney (50, 59), Yaha (79);
Goals: Walsh 5/ 8.

Referee: Ben Thaler;
Attendance: 6,888;
Penalty count: 4-12;
Half-time: 6-4.

Main Match Sponsor: Frank Beirne Fabrics.
Associate Sponsor: JRs Taxis.
Match Ball Sponsor: M Logan and Sons.
Match Programme Sponsor: Brabbs Motor Works Ltd.
Leigh Centurions Man of the Match: Cory Paterson.
Photos courtesy SW Pix.

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