Leigh Centurions scored eight tries to stun the wounded Warriors 50-34 at Leigh Sports Village on Thursday night. Leigh led from the 14th minute, and never looked back, as a woeful Wigan defence suffered on one of the lowest nights in Shaun Wane’s tenure.
WIGAN NEEDED A GOOD START
Playing Leigh at the Sports Village has proven to be a tough task for quite a few sides this season. While Leigh have gone on to lose most their home games, they’ve gone down fighting. Wigan knew this was always going to be a tough one, and expected Leigh to come at them from the get go. However, what they didn’t expect is for Leigh to put 50 points past them on a real memorable night for the Centurions.
Wigan needed a quick start, and they got just that when following some quick hands, Liam Marshall finished well in the corner. Wigan led 4-0 after just four minutes, and that was to be the last time they led for the rest of the game as Wigan’s good start went crashing out the window. It was former Warrior, Ryan Hampshire who intercepted Joe Burgess’ pass to go the full length for their opening try, and give Leigh a 6-4 lead.
Leigh took control from this point, and started to pepper the Wigan try-line. It payed off, as the Centurions would go over for another two tries through another former Wiganer, Danny Tickle and Lachlan Burr which further extended their lead to 18-4 after 24 minutes. Their three tries in 10 minutes shocked Wigan, and it clearly boosted Leigh’s confidence for the rest of the game. It was another poor start for the Warriors.
LEIGH WERE THERE FOR THE TAKING
Despite the horror start, you still felt there was more than enough time for Wigan to mount a comeback. They were three converted tries behind, but Leigh have always been good to concede a few points, and Wigan have been scoring plenty tries in recent weeks. Like in the Hull FC game last week, Wigan had hardly touched the ball in attack to try and get back into the game, and it was starting to frustrate them.
They were giving soft penalties and cheap yards to a side that shouldn’t be controlling them. Wigan’s discipline has really let them down in recent months, and been a poor part of their game that really needs work on. Not only giving away cheap penalties, but the constant moaning to the referee following a decision. Even if they don’t agree with it, just walk away, he won’t change his mind, just look what’s happened to Liam Farrell this week.
Wigan finally got going again in the 31st minute, when youngster Josh Ganson forced his way over from dummy-half. Just two minutes later, they were in again, as they spread the ball out wide, and Gildart cut inside to beat the oncoming defence, only to find George Williams on his inside, who finished off a great move. Marshall kicked Wigan’s first conversion and put them just four behind at 18-14.
LEIGH PUNISH WIGAN’S WOEFUL DEFENCE
Wigan finally got themselves back into the game, and were now just four points behind. However, just before the hooter, Ben Reynolds would kick a penalty-goal to give Leigh a converted try lead at 20-14 going into halftime. Wigan fans could sit through the break a little easier following their late comeback, and it gave Leigh fans something to think about going into the important second 40 minutes.
Wigan got off to a flyer when Gildart went over for a try on his long-awaited return to the side. Marshall missed the conversion, and Wigan still trailed 20-18. It was so frustrating for the Warriors, as they had scored four tries to Leigh’s three, yet trailed by two points. Goal-kicking is a huge problem in that team, and it’s something that needs fixing quickly. At this stage, it seemed Wigan were going to take control for the first time, but it wasn’t to be.
Leigh blitzed Wigan, scoring three tries in the space of nine minutes through Mitch Brown and a brace from Liam Hood, to give them a 38-18 lead with still over 20 minutes to go. Wigan looked shell-shocked, but they could only blame themselves, as their horrendous defence was their downfall in this game, as it’s been for the previous defeats in this shambolic run of form.
NEW LOW FOR THE WARRIORS
Even with 20 minutes to go, there seemed no signs of a Wigan comeback, and Leigh tails were up. However, Wigan hit back almost immediately with a try from Frank-Paul Nuuausala to get them to 38-24 behind. But once again, the woeful Wigan defence was on show as they just let Leigh score some rather ridiculously soft tries, that you’d be embarrassed to conceded at amateur level.
Leigh would get another two tries through Cory Patterson and Matty Dawson which brought their total up to 50. Leigh now led 50-24, in a Super League game against Wigan Warriors. It’s just not acceptable. Wigan did score two late tries of their own, through Joe Burgess and a second for Josh Ganson, to add a bit more pride on the scoreboard. But it was still a poor evening for the Warriors, as they were beaten 50-34 by Leigh Centurions.
This was a new low for Wigan, one in which I never saw coming, even in their recent run of poor form. To be beaten by the bottom club in the league is bad enough, but for them to put 50 points on you is criminal. I do feel for the young lads who are out there for Wigan, as it’s the experienced heads who’ve been letting them down. There can only better times ahead for Wigan, as it surely can’t get any worse, can it?
Leigh Centurions head coach Neil Jukes:
“It’s probably my biggest win as Leigh coach. It’s a big win for me, the club and the town. It was more than two points for us and our fans.
“The guys do turn up for each other every week. The results might suggest otherwise sometimes but they really do put the work in.
“We’ve stayed at it and not been far off it for the last few weeks. We were really good with the ball in hand today.”
Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane:
“Fifty points at Leigh, all respect to them, is not good enough, but we’ve got some players coming back and hopefully that will change things.
“We defended lots of sets really, really well, forced errors, but our decision making on our own line was ordinary. When I show the players tomorrow they’ll be wounded when they see how easily it can be fixed.
“We’re hurting really badly, too many bad losses, but we’re a strong group and everybody in that dressing room knows we can get back.”
IN THE SHEDS
Leigh Centurions lost Danny Tickle in the second half, the player didn’t return.
There were no incidents during the game that was force the RFL to act against.
Leigh Centurions: (20) 50
Tries: Hampshire, Tickle, Burr, Brown, Hood (2), Paterson, Dawson
Conversions: Reynolds 8/8
Penalties: Reynolds 1/1
Wigan Warriors: (14) 34
Tries: Marshall, Ganson (2), Williams, Gildart, Nuuausala, Burgess
Conversions: Williams 0/2, Marshall 3/5
Leigh Centurions: McNally, Dawson, Brown, Paterson, Hampshire, Reynolds, Drinkwater, Acton, Pelissier, Weston, Tickle, Hansen, Stewart.
Interchanges: Hood, Maria, Burr, Hopkins.
Wigan Warriors: Tierney, Davies, Burgess, Gildart, Marshall, Williams, Leuluai, Nuuausala, McIlorum, Sutton, Isa, Wells, J. Tomkins.
Interchanges: Tautai, Navarrete, Ganson, Forsyth.
Referee: Robert Hicks.
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Date/Time: Thursday 8th June 2017 – 20:00pm GMT