Sheffield 20 – 72 Leigh

Leigh romped to their sixth successive win with a stunning 13-try success on their first visit to the Olympic Legacy Park.

Built partly on the footprint of the old Don Valley Stadium, though the pitch is now 3g and turned around 90 degrees, the traditional home of the Eagles has often been a venue where Leigh have suffered heartbreak in the past.

But a near perfect first half performance laid the foundation for a runaway win as the visitors scored 50 points including a five-minute hat-trick for Craig Hall.

Matty Dawson-Jones opened the scoring in the corner before fullback Peter Matautia twice went over and Hall then sliced over for a quick-fire treble.

With halfbacks Ben Reynolds and Drew Hutchison dominant in midfield and Liam Hood having another top game at hooker, further tries by Kyle Lovett, Jack Owens and Hood himself saw Leigh reach 50 with some wonderful interplay.

Ryan Millar pulled a try back for the shell-shocked Eagles right on the hooter and the home side displayed plenty of fighting spirit to post three further second half tries including a fine individual effort by Oscar Thomas and others by James Bentley and Blake Broadbent.

But without reaching the heights of their stunning first half display the visitors posted further tries by Hall, Hutchison, Owens and Kevin Larroyer with Reynolds hitting ten goals for the second week in a row.

Leigh Centurions Caretaker coach Kieron Purtill said: “For me the most pleasing thing for the group and the team was the attitude in the first half. We spoke about how this came coming after Easter can catch you a little bit but we turned up today with a great attitude and rolled that first half with an impressive performance.

“We had some structures we stuck to and to go in at half time was an exceptional score. All credit to Sheffield, they had a dig for the first 20 minutes of the second half and threw the ball around and kicked and offloaded and it was a good test for us defensively.

“The rucks have speeded up, the surfaces are getting better and it suits us. Plus we are playing with some confidence as a group which helps us. We have tweaked a few things in attack but the main thing was we turned up with the right attitude and we got the right result.”

Sheffield Eagles: Corey Makelim; Iliess Macani, James Bentley, Ben Blackmore, Ryan Millar; Oscar Thomas, Simon Brown; Mark Offerdahl, Gregory Burns, Jon Magrin, Jack Ashworth, Oliver Davies, Matty Fozard. Interchange: Daniel Igbinedion, Kieran Moran, Maxime Garcia, Blake Broadbent.

Tries: Millar (40), Bentley (46), Thomas (50), Broadbent (63);
Goals: Thomas 2/ 4.

Leigh Centurions: Peter Mata’utia; Matty Dawson-Jones, Ben Crooks, Craig Hall, Jack Owens; Ben Reynolds, Drew Hutchison; Nathan Mason, Liam Hood, Jamie Acton, Harrison Hansen, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Thompson. Interchange: Micky Higham, Greg Richards, Kevin Larroyer, Kyle Lovett.

Tries: Dawson-Jones (4), Mata’utia (8, 14), Hall (15, 17, 20, 57), Lovett (25), Owens (32, 66), Hood (37), Hutchison (60), Larroyer (74).
Goals: Reynolds 10/ 13.

Referee: Tom Grant;
Attendance: 982;
Penalty count: 6-6;
Half-time: 4-50.

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