Leigh Centurions lost out to league leaders Catalan Dragons. The team flew out of Manchester on the morning of the game in a privately chartered plane. In making the journey Centurions maintained their proud record of having played in every possible game, managing their players well throughout the Covid problems that have hit the sport throughout the season.
Catalans started strongly but the Centurions defence held firm and soaked up the pressure from the opening set.
Sadly on two minutes there was a defensive mix up between Foster and Mellor, which resulted in Foster kicking out on the full. Catalans took full advantage and McMeekin scored the opening try of the game.Maloney added the conversion and the hosts led 6-0.
On eight minutes Catalans doubled their lead when Langi found Davies who scored in the corner. Again Maloney was successful with a touchline conversion, 12-0.
Centurions were struggling to settle against the league leaders and McMeekin added his second try of the game on thirteen minutes. With Maloney’s conversion the home side led 18-0.
On eighteen minutes Maloney scooted through to score a try for Catalans under the posts and he had no problem converting, 24-0.
Jai Whitbread came on as substitute for Rob Butler on 19 minutes for his Centurions debut just 72 hours after landing in the UK from the long haul flight from Australia.
Catalans were showing their pedigree of why they top the BetFred Super League when they Yaha ran in their fifth try on 23 minutes. Maloney failed with the conversion attempt from the touchline, 28-0
Jai Whitbread stamped his presence on the game with a big hit on 25 minutes that interrupted the Catalans attack.
Brand made good ground but was tip-tackled and Mellor put the resultant penalty into touch just short of half way.
Leigh started to find their feet in what had been far from good preparation for the game having to fly on the day and play in the evening heat. They completed a couple of sets then defended one against the hosts.
Yaha got the better of Elliot down the flank and scored Catalans sixth try which Maloney again converted wide out, 34-0.
Catalans then capitalised on a high ball being dropped and McMeekin ran in unopposed. Maloney converted to the delight of the home fans, 40-0.
The hooter sounded and the Leigh players made their way to the changing rooms where Micky Higham, who was in charge of the team was waiting to try and motivate the players into salvaging some pride against the rampant Catalan Dragons.
Half Time Catalan Dragons 40 Leigh Centurions 0
Catalans started the second half looking for more tries and thought they had scored on 42 minutes but the referee adjudged a forward pass in the build up.
Centurions were forced into two goal line drop outs in quick succession as Catalans attempted to pierce the defence with grubber kicks. The defence stemmed the Catalans scoring for the first ten minutes of the second half as Micky Higham made several changes with his substitutes, but the defence was breached when Joel Tomkins crashed over from close range. Maloney again added the two, 46-0.
Catalans passed the 50 mark when full back Sam Tomkins went in for a try and Maloney’s conversion made it 52-0 on the hour.
Sam added his second try of the game shortly afterwards from a flowing move from his team mates. Maloney improved once again 58-0.
On 68 minutes Centurions pushed forward but kicked on the second tackle and the home side mounted another assault.
With seven minutes remaining Davies dived for the corner but was forced into touch by Junior Sa’u. Junior was again in the thick of it with a huge hit on a Catalan player, who spilled the ball on impact.
Davies made amends for being tackled by Sa’u and raced past several Centurions defenders to score under the posts. Maloney kept up his near perfect kicking display by landing the conversion.
Full Time Catalan Dragons 64 Leigh Centurions 0
Catalans S Tomkins,Davies,Laguerre,Langi,Yaha, Drinkwater, Maloney,Bousquet, McIlorum, Dezaria, Le Cam, McMeeken, Goudemand
Subs Mourgue,J Tomkins, Cozza,J Chan
Leigh Centurions Brand, Elliot, Sa’u, Logan, Nisbet, Brierley, Mellor, Mason, Eaves, Butler, Hellewell, Foster, Thompson
Subs Gerrard, Mullen, Spencer, Whitbread
Referee Aaron Moore