In the third meeting between these sides this year, the current situation is something rather different. Leigh Centurions find themselves without a win in the Qualifiers after three consecutive losses, while Sheffield Eagles travel to the Leigh Sports Village on the back of a victory over fellow Championship side Halifax.
Last Time Out
Leigh Centurions and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats met for the second time this year when the latter visited the Leigh Sports Village for round three of the Qualifiers. Unlike their last encounter in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, it was Wakefield who came out on top. A slender one point was all that separated the sides by the end. Lee Smith opened the scoring for the visitors after five minutes but the bulldozing Fuifui Moimoi replied seven minutes later. Jonathan Pownall and Liam Kay grabbed a try each in the space of eight minutes to give their side a bit of breathing space. However, a Jacob Miller try in the dying embers of the first period brought the Wildcats back to within a converted try of their Championship opponents. Just after the hour mark came another try for Miller, a conversion from Smith was forthcoming and the scoreboard read 16-16. Smith slotted over a drop-goal with ten minutes remaining for Trinity, and it proved pivotal as Leigh couldn’t breach the ever-working defence of Brian Smith’s side for the remainder.
Sheffield Eagles got the better of fellow Championship outfit Halifax at the Keepmoat. Sheffield were never in the lead up until the 77th minute when Rob Worrincy notched his third try of the game. The first score of the match went to Adam Tangata of Halifax, following an incisive break from half-back Ben Johnston. Worrincy got Sheffield on the board a few minutes after Tangata’s try. The visitors, motivated after two inspiring performances against Super League sides in the middle eights, weren’t going away and they regained their six point advantage when Steve Tyrer touched down a Johnston grubber before converting. With Sheffield in possession inside the Halifax half, they passed to key man Menzie Yere to try and get some good field position. But quite the opposite happened. Gareth Potts stripped the ball off the PNG man in a one-on-one battle before scooting all the way to the try-line despite an ankle tap attempt from Cory Aston. Pat Walker gave the Eagles a bit of confidence going into half-time when he crossed the whitewash assisted by a short pass from Aston. Worrincy levelled the game with his second four-pointer of proceedings, but as was the case for most of the match, Halifax hit back. Scott Murrell, chief playmaker for Halifax, spotted a gap in the Eagles defence and he exploited it by driving between two would-be tacklers. Sheffield loose forward Walker took centre stage after Murrell’s go-ahead try. His offload to QLT set the full-back up perfectly to go over the try-line, beneath the sticks, for the third equaliser of the afternoon for Sheffield. Then, with a few minutes of the tie to go, Walker put in a pinpoint chip to the corner for Worrincy to score the winner.
After a three-try performance against Halifax in round three, Rob Worrincy comes into this weekend’s match with form on his side. Fellow wingman Scott Turner, leaving at the end of this season as the Eagles move to become a full-time operation, was scoreless against Halifax but he always causes a threat with centre Menzie Yere nearby. Leigh wingers Jonathan Pownall and Liam Kay scored a try each against Wakefield in the last Qualifiers round but their efforts were in vain by the end. Expansive play is in the nature of both sides so the wingers should see quite a bit of ball on the wide playing surface at Leigh.
Paul Rowley has already described this game as ‘do or die’ for Leigh’s Super League hopes. While Eagles captain Mitch Stringer told the club’s official website that the Million Pound Game is still an aim for his side, despite their final three Qualifiers fixtures coming against Super League teams. An intriguing contest awaits at the Leigh Sports Village. The hosts will go into the tie as favourites with the bookmakers but Sheffield won’t mind their underdogs status – Leigh by 8