LEIGH CENTURIONS 28
HULL KINGSTON ROVERS 34
DANIEL HUNT, Leigh Sports Village, Sunday
Albert Goldthorpe Medal
3pts Mikey Lewis (Hull Kingston Rovers)
2pts Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Hull Kingston Rovers0
1pt Adam Sidlow (Leigh Centurions)
STORY OF THE GAME
1 Junior S’au try 4-0
Craig Mullen missed goal (0/1) 4-0
5 Injury: Dean Hadley (dislocated shoulder)
9 Video referee rules out Joe Mellor try claim (knock-on) 4-0
16 Kane Linnett try 4-4
Ben Crooks missed goal (0/1) 4-4
19 Greg Minikin try 4-8
Ben Crooks missed goal (0/2) 4-8
23 Shaun Kenny-Dowall try 4-12
Ben Crooks goal (1/3) 4-14
32 Video referee rules out Matthew Storton try claim (held-up) 4-14
32 Mikey Lewis try 4-18
Ben Crooks missed goal (1/4) 4-18
37 Craig Mullen try 8-18
Craig Mullen goal (1/2) 10-18
45 Albert Vete try 10-22
Ben Crooks goal (2/5) 10-24
51 Sinbin: Albert Vete (high tackle)
52 Adam Sidlow try 14-24
Craig Mullen goal (2/3) 16-24
58 Sinbin: George Lawler (high tacklel)
59 Junior S’au try 20-24
Craig Mullen goal (3/4) 22-24
62 Injury: Mikey Lewis (head)
64 Adam Sidlow try 26-24
Craig Mullen goal (4/5) 28-24
66 Shaun Kenny-Dowall try 28-28
Ben Crooks missed goal (2/6) 28-28
73 Ryan Hall try 28-32
Ben Crooks goal (3/7) 28-34
76 Video referee rules out Liam Hood try (offside) 28-34
Hull Kingston Rovers re-commenced their surge up the Super League standings, but left it late with a narrow victory over Leigh Centurions in a heated affair at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday evening.
Rovers, playing their third fixture in six weeks due to Covid-19 postponements, hoped to return to winning ways following back-to-back defeats against top-of-the-table Catalans Dragons, while Leigh were still craving their first win of the season.
Following a half-century defeat to local rivals Wigan Warriors, Leigh had five changes, including Brendan Elliot, Rob Butler and Jamie Ellis, who were all omitted. Matty Russell, James Bell and Jack Logan were selected alongside Matty Foster and Josh Eaves.
An additional late change was made with kick-off looming as Nathan Mason pulled up during warm-up; Mark Ioane replaced him on the bench..
Rovers had just two changes to contend with as halfback Mikey Lewis returned and, with Adam Quinlan absent, Ben Crooks moved to fullback with Brad Takaringi moving from the halves to centre as a result. Korbin Sims replaced Luis Johnson in their other change.
Leigh spread the ball wide initially to Matty Russell, with a quick play-the-ball worrying a jagged Rovers defence. The pressure continued as the ball was worked to Junior S’au, who touched down in the corner following a delightful pass from Keanan Brand, but the conversion was missed by Craig Mullen.
On the five-minute mark, Dean Hadley was forced off the field with a shoulder injury which was later confirmed by Tony Smith as a discloation that would be season-ending.
Leigh were almost over again on the nine-minute mark. A kick on Leigh’s own 15-metre line took an unfortunate bounce and was left by Rovers and booted on. Joe Mellor chased and won the race to score the four points but, after review, a knock-on was called and the try was chalked off.
Roves responded when Lewis‘ grubber was slotted through a narrow gap in Leigh’s line before being dotted down by Kane Linnett.
Rovers then appeared to take control. In back-to-back chances, Matt Parcell tried to scoot his way over beneath the posts from dummy-half and Korbin Sims almost powered his way over, but Leigh survived on both occasions.
Sadly, though, their stern defence resulted to nothing as Takairangi took a cross-field kick in mid-air and batted the ball back to Greg Minikin, who wrongfooted Mullen and scored out wide.
Just four minutes later, Parcell broke through a two-man tackle from dummy-half, burst his way forward and fed Linnett, before the play was closed down abruptly, but the ball was spread left rapidly and Leigh’s defence couldn’t adjust. Shaun Kenny-Dowall was the beneficiary, while Ben Crooks nailed the game’s first conversion to place Rovers into a double-digit lead.
The onslaught resumed as Albert Vete attempted to burrow over and Parcell looked to shimmy his way through, but Leigh again held firm with stubborn defence.
Following a penalty, Rovers almost extended their lead through Matty Storton after the ball was spread wide, but the no-try on-field call was eventually confirmed by video-referee Liam Moore. Nonetheless Rovers did score again almost immediately, with Joe Mellor biting in on a lead runner to allow Lewis to dart his way over on his return.
Leigh retaliated with a much-needed score four minutes shy of the half-time hooter as they replicated Lewis‘ effort from two minutes prior. Mullen was the man filling in Lewis‘ shoes and crossing in an identical fashion, and the crucial conversion was nailed by Mullen to leave the half-time score at 10-18.
Rovers were first to break the post-interval deadlock when Lewis‘ run set-up Vete on the next play as he captured the ball from first-receiver and crossed, with the try given immediately, much to Leigh’s resentment.
In a game that had been brewing sinbins were always on the cards and Vete received Rovers‘ first for a high-tackle on Matty Foster.
S’au’s world-class determination to find the tryline gained much acclaim from Leigh supporters and that atmosphere reached a new decibel level when Adam Sidlow crossed to restore some hope at 16-24.
Leigh created momentumal pressure for a five-minute spell, with several players going close but being held up, but that pressure came to an unforeseen pause thanks to George Lawler, who received a yellow card for a high tackle. The relentless attack paid dividends, however, as S’au crossed for his second out wide, while Jack Logan hyped up the crowd and Mullen nailed his third conversion.
Lewis sustained a neck injury on the 61st minute and Rovers conceded their fifth of the night as they desperately looked to reshuffle, but Sidlow powered his way over from first receiver to place Leigh into a rare second-half lead.
Leigh’s lead lasted just five minutes as Kenny-Dowall discovered space on the left-hand side after smart passing and he had nothing but the line in his sights. However, the pivotal score was overshadowed by a flare thrown onto the field.
Ryan Hall crossed on the left flank in open space for the eventual matchwinner, but not before an extensive video review, and the decisive conversion was nailed by Crooks.
The Centurions seemingly scored to send the game to golden-point, but the effort was chalked off due to Liam Hood being marginally offside chasing a kick.
Leigh will now hope to end their lengthy wait for a first competition win as they meet Leeds and Salford in home encounters, while Rovers will look to re-gain momentum as they battle Wigan at Craven Park.
GAMESTAR: 20-year-old Mikey Lewis suffered an injury, but ran the show at halfback until that point.
GAMEBREAKER: Ryan Hall broke hearts on the 73th minute, and not for the first time in his career.
TOP TACKLE: Matty Russell had a golden opportunity on the 55th minute, but knocked on after a superb tackle by Ben Crooks and the ball met the ground.
HIGHLIGHT REEL: Brad Takairangi soared to new heights as he exquisitely claimed the ball and supplied Greg Minikin.
24 Keanan Brand
2 Matty Russell
3 Iain Thornley
35 Jack Logan
4 Junior S’au
22 Craig Mullen
7 Joe Mellor
20 Adam Sidlow
27 Josh Eaves
15 Alex Gerrard
11 Ben Hellewell
28 Matty Foster
13 James Bell
Subs (all used)
9 Liam Hood (C)
10 Mark Ioane
12 Jordan Thompson
18 Matty Gee
Also in 21-man squad
8 Ben Flower
19 Nathan Mason
17 Jamie Ellis
25 Brendan Elliot
2 Ben Crooks
3 Greg Minikin
11 Brad Takairangi
4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall (C)
5 Ryan Hall
20 Mikey Lewis
25 Rowan Milnes
16 George King
9 Matt Parcell
26 Will Maher
12 Kane Linnett
13 Dean Hadley
10 Korbin Sims
Subs (all used)
8 Albert Vete
14 Jez Litten
15 George Lawler
18 Matty Storton
Also in 21-man squad
24 Joe Keyes
27 Luis Johnson
28 Muizz Mustapha
30 Will Tate
Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match
Leigh: Junior S’au
Hull KR: Mikey Lewis
Penalty count: 5-3
Six again: 3-4
Referee: Chris Kendall