Leigh 18-20 Wigan: Warriors rally to deny Centurions a dream Super League return


Super League newcomers Leigh Centurions led 18-0 after 27 minutes; Wigan rally with Jake Bibby scoring two of their four unanswered tries; watch Wakefield Trinity vs Leeds Rhinos and Catalans Dragons vs Hull KR on Sky Sports Arena on Saturday from 2.30pm

Last Updated: 26/03/21 11:22pm










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Highlights from Wigan’s win over Leigh in the opening round of Betfred Super League XXVI

Highlights from Wigan’s win over Leigh in the opening round of Betfred Super League XXVI

Wigan denied Leigh a dream return to Super League as they rallied from 18 points down to claim a 20-18 victory.

The Centurions had beaten Wigan 50-34 in their last season in Super League in 2017 and were on course for another famous victory after running in three tries without reply after 27 minutes.

But the Warriors dug deep, especially after losing new signing Jai Field with a hamstring injury 19 minutes into his debut.

They scored four unanswered tries, two of them from Jake Bibby, to get their season off to a successful start.

Wigan coach Adrian Lam will be mightily relieved to get the points after going into the game without his two high-profile Australians Jackson Hastings and Bevan French and three first-choice threequarters.

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Man of the match Harry Smith said Wigan had to change things up after their lacklustre start

Man of the match Harry Smith said Wigan had to change things up after their lacklustre start

They played most of the game with two back-row forwards, Willie Isa and the returning John Bateman, in the centre spots but gradually weathered an early storm to boss the second half.

Leigh coach John Duffy, whose side were fast-tracked back into the top flight following the rejection of Toronto Wolfpack, will take just as many positives from the game.

Still building his squad having had precious little preparation time, Duffy gave debuts to nine players, including two youngsters on loan from St Helens, and watched them rock last year’s Grand Finalists with their boundless energy and enthusiasm.

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John Duffy was both devastated and proud after Leigh came close to upsetting Wigan

John Duffy was both devastated and proud after Leigh came close to upsetting Wigan

They went in front in the sixth minute when captain Liam Hood forced his way over from dummy half and full-back Ryan Brierley converted the try.

In a rare Wigan attack, full-back Zak Hardaker was close to reaching Sam Powell’s kick to the line but it was generally all Leigh in the first half-hour and half-back Joe Mellor was denied by a forward pass.

A second handling error by Bateman gifted the Centurions the position for Brierley to get former Wigan centre Iain Thornley over for his side’s second try.

It got even better for the new boys when Hood broke clear and kicked ahead for second-rower Ben Hellewell to touch down.

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Wigan coach Adrian Lam was grateful his side managed to turn things around

Wigan coach Adrian Lam was grateful his side managed to turn things around

Brierley added a third conversion to make it 18-0 and Mellor missed a glorious chance to extend the lead when he failed to pick up a loose ball with daylight in front of him.

The miss began to look costly when the Warriors hit back with two tries in the last four minutes of the first half.

Bibby, who took Field’s place on the right wing, took a pass from Isa to go over at the corner and then turned creator for Hardaker after Bateman had come up with a crucial pass.

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Hardaker was unable to convert either of the tries, as Wigan trailed 18-8 at the break, but the momentum was clearly with them.

A rampaging Joe Bullock took a pass from half-back Harry Smith to score their third try after 62 minutes and three minutes later Hardaker broke spectacularly from deep inside his own half to get the supporting Bibby over for his second.

Hardaker kicked a second conversion to put the Warriors in front for the first time and they were able to withstand their opponents’ late efforts to snatch the win.





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