A hard-fought performance at Leigh Sports Village saw Leigh Centurions defeat Sheffield Eagles 30-12 to earn a spot in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Sheffield opened the scoring after just three minutes in this semi-final clash, as Kris Welham went over down the right flank. Izaac Farrell made his first conversion of the afternoon.
The Eagles were awarded a penalty 40 metres out, following a high tackle call from referee Nick Bennett. They elected to take the two and Farrell added the points.
Minutes prior to half hour mark and Leigh got on to the scoresheet, to reduce the deficit. A short ball from John Asiata on the Eagles’ line in was ran on to by Sam Stone, who fell over the try line. Krisnan Inu stepped up to make his first conversion of the afternoon.
With minutes to go before the interval, Edwin Ipape thought he had got over the line to take the lead, but referee Bennett blew up for a push.
Seconds after and the Papua New Guinean was shown a yellow card for high tackle, with Farrell made the two.
Half-Time Leigh Centurions 6-10 Sheffield Eagles
Less than five minutes after the restart and it seemed like the Centurions had come out with a purpose, as heavy tackles were flying in and chances created.
Nene Macdonald nearly had Leigh’s second try of the contest, but was fingertips from catching the pass and putting it down in the left corner.
Ben Reynolds got the home fans up on their feet shortly after, as it looked like he’d placed the ball over the line with a great darting run, but the referee judged the ball to be up.
48 minutes into the tie and the Centurions were level. Joe Mellor nearly snuck over from first receiver but was stopped just short. Up stepped Kai O’Donnell who got in behind the rook and went himself, powering over. Krisnan Inu did the rest with the conversion. (2/2)
Right on the hour mark and Sheffield were awarded another penalty 20m out from the Centurions line. They once again opted to take the two and Farrell added the extras, leaving it all square with 20 to play.
With less than 12 to go, Nene Macdonald rose highest to claim Joe Mellor’s kick and plantsed the ball down in expert fashion to send Adrian Lam’s men back into the lead.
Single figure minutes remained, Leigh made the scrum count and Caleb Aekins powered over in the corner to extend the lead.
To put the icing on the cake for the Centurions, Ed Chamberlain got away and ran 60m to send his side to Spurs.
Full-Time Leigh Centurions 30-12 Sheffield Eagles
Leigh Centurions: Aekins, Brand, Chamberlain, McDonald, Inu, Reynolds, Mellor, Sidlow (C), Smith, Amone, Stone, Wardle, Asiata.
Interchange: Nakubuwai, McDonnell, O’Donnell, Ipape.
Tries: Stone, O’Donnell, Macdonald, Aekins, Chamberlain.
Goals: Inu (5)
Sin Bin: Ipape
Sheffield Eagles: Lalu-Togaga’e, Jones-Bishop, Welham, Johnson, Bass, Farrell, Thackeray, Douglas, Halafihi, Dickinson, Bower, Farrell, Hodgson.
Interchange: Oakes, Broadbent, Wood, Holmes.
Goals: Farrell (4)
Sin Bin: None