Last Time Out
Leigh affirmed their Super League superiority over the London Broncos in an error-ridden thrashing. The visitors went into half time 12-0 up after tries from Matty Fleming and Harrison Hansen, both of which were converted by Ben Reynolds. After half time not much changed, the errors still came and Leigh still dominated the absent-minded Broncos, scoring two through Sam Hopkins, James Clare before Broncos could get on the scoreboard with Matty Gee in the 63rd minute. From then onwards, Leigh piled on the points to win 41-4 with 3 tries and conversions, as well as a drop goal from former Bronco Josh Drinkwater on what was a day to forget for the London side.
On the other hand, Catalans and Widnes contested the most meaningful game of the round and it proved decisive in the shape of the competition. Both sides kept it tight and Catalans went up early with a penalty goal, which was to be the order of the day. Widnes soon followed with back to back penalty goals from Tom Gilmore, after which Catalans got one back to level the scores going into the half time break.
Corey Thompson put Widnes ahead in the second half with the first try of the game and Stefan Marsh soon followed with one of his own to put Widnes eight up. Catalans, however, mounted a comeback and crossed for a try just 10 minutes from time. Julian Bousquet provided the four pointer, and Luke Walsh obliged with the extra two to set up and enthralling final few minutes. The score remained at 10-12 after some questionable decision making from the Dragons and Widnes secured an historic win away at Catalans to gift Leigh the home spot for the Million Pound Game.
This is a massive game for the big men in the middle. Catalans have their strongest pack available and are boosted by the return of Greg Bird. Leigh, on the other hand, are missing Atelea Vea but come into this fresh off the back of a dominant performance against the Broncos’ pack last week. Eloi Pelissier makes way for Micky Higham, while Mitch Brown also returns to the Centurions’ squad. The previous meeting between these two saw Leigh dominate the big Catalans pack and grind out an impressive 30-6 win at the Stade Gilbert Brutus and it’ll once again hinge on the performance of the packs this weekend. Catalans come into this off two tight games against Hull KR and Widnes and will no doubt be feeling the minutes in their legs this weekend so the Centurions will need to take every yard they can up the middle to break the French side if they are to win this one.
This is one of the most mouth-watering clashes of the season; on their day, Catalans Dragons have the firepower to beat most sides in the league but they just haven’t put a string of performances together this season and Leigh have hit a good patch of form late in the season, bringing the 2nd best attack and defence in the qualifiers competition. The last time these two sides met it was a mammoth clash up the middle and it should be the same this time round. Catalans performances on the road are still the most questionable thing in Super League and with Leigh having won away from home in Perpignan just over a month ago, I can only see this going one way. No doubt the Dragons’ performances have improved in recent weeks but you can never back a side that is so consistent in underperforming. Leigh by 8.
Leigh Centurions: Brown, Burr, Clare, Crooks, Dawson, Drinkwater, Fleming, Hampshire, Hansen, Higham, Hood, Hopkins, Langi, Maria, Paterson, Reynolds, Richards, Stewart, Tickle.
Catalans Dragons: Krisnan Inu, Brayden Wiliame, Fouad Yaha, Luke Walsh, Richie Myler, Sam Moa, Paul Aiton, Louis Anderson, Justin Horo, Greg Bird, Julian Bousquet, Ben Garcia, Jason Batieri, Vincent Duport, Iain Thornley, Lucas Albert, Thibaud Margalet, Lambert Belmas, Lewis Tierney.