Halifax 16-26 Leigh: James Bell impresses in Centurions return – talking points

James Bell Leigh Adrian Lam

James Bell put on a man of the match performance in his Leigh return as Adrian Lam’s side claimed a 26-16 victory over Halifax at The Shay.

Krisnan Inu was named to make his Leigh debut on the wing. Bell, 27, returned on dual-registration from St Helens and started the game on the bench.

Huddersfield pair Nathan Mason and Jack Ashworth started for the Panthers. Full-back James Woodburn-Hall made his first appearance of the season.

Zack McComb scored his first try of the season to open the scoring on eight minutes. The centre showed great speed to finish a kick from winger James Saltonstall. Joe Keyes missing the conversion for an early 4-0 lead. 

Mark Ioane hit back for Leigh on 26 minutes. On his return, Bell made the assist to send his team-mate over. Championship-leading goals scorer Ben Reynolds converted to give his side a 6-4 lead.  

Leading try-scorer Nene Macdonald crossed for his seventh try of the Championship season just two minutes later to extend the lead to 10-4. 

HT: Halifax 4-10 Leigh

Leigh crossed again just six minutes into the second half through Keanan Brand following a lovely back-line play. Reynolds converting from wide for a 16-4 score. 

Leigh number 13 Tom Amone scored his first career try on 59 minutes again following a slick pass from Bell. Amone, 25, made 17 appearances in the NRL across stints with South Sydney and Wests Tigers, having made his debut in 2019.

Halifax hit back through Saltonstall seven minutes later, with his full-back in Woodburn-Hall providing the assist on his return. Keyes converting his first of the evening for a 22-10 score. 

However, the comeback hope was short lived as Joe Wardle crashed over for his first of the season for a 26-10 score.

Winger Lachlan Walmsley hit back with just a minute remaining to cross for Halifax’s third try of the evening for a 16-26 score.

FT: Halifax 16-26 Leigh

Halifax: Woodburn-Hall, Walmsley, Arundel, McComb, Saltonstall, Aston, Keyes, Murray, Moore, Mason, Ashworth, Garside, Tangata.

Subs: Wood, Gwaze, Calcott, Barber.

Tries: McComb, Saltonstall, Walmsley

Goals: Keyes 2/3

Leigh: Aekins, Inu, Macdonald, Chamberlain, Brand, Reynolds, Mellor, Sidlow, Smith, Amone, Wardle, Stone, Asiata.

Subs: Ioane, McDonnell, Bell, Hingano.

Tries: Ioane, Macdonald, Brand, Amone, Wardle

Goals: Reynolds 3/5

Talking points

Nene Macdonald impressive again

Leigh centre Macdonald impressed once again in his side’s victory. The Papua New Guinea international looked dangerous with the ball in hand and is proving to be hard to handle for his opposition. He has now scored eight tries in seven games for the Centurions. There’s no doubt that Super League clubs will be keeping an eye on the former NRL man.

Tough sport

The action live on Premier Sports proved just how tough players are. Woodburn-Hall looked to have played big minutes with an ongoing rib injury. Halifax forward Mason also had a bust nose in the second half.

Halifax just one from five

Simon Grix’s side have won just one game from their opening five Championship fixtures. They have fallen to Batley, Widnes, Featherstone and now Leigh so far in 2022, while claiming a win against London. Next up, they travel to Workington for the rearranged round four fixture.

About Josh McAllister 1307 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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