A Liam Kay hat-trick helped Toronto Wolfpack ease past Leigh Centurions 34-12 in the opening round of the Betfred Championship.
It was a fine start for Leigh as they scored in their first set of the game. Peter Mata’utia bounced off a challenge from Toronto winger Adam Higson to assist Harrison Hansen who scored in front of the roaring North Stand at the Leigh Sports Village. Ben Reynolds converted to put his side in a 6-0 lead.
The Centurions were in a good form and extended their lead when Matty Dawson-Jones went over in the corner following a perfect passing move. Reynolds again added the conversion.
Toronto hit back midway through the first half though as Adam Sidlow burst through a gap in the Centurions defence to score from just a couple of yards out. Ryan Brierley added the extras but Leigh were still 12-6 to the good.
In the 24th minute, Paul Rowley’s Wolfpack were dealt a blow as winger Adam Higson was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on Nathan Mason.
However, the yellow card seemed to put the Wolfpack into a hiugher gear and they actually scored while they were down to 12 men. They passed it along the line to Liam Kay, who used to play for Leigh, who touched down. The conversion attempt went side so Leigh were still in a narrow 12-10 lead at the break.
There were a couple of small melees at the start of the second half but once it calmed down, Toronto then took the lead for the first time in the game. Cory Paterson intercepted a kick to run 70 metres and dive over. Brierley’s conversion put the Wolfpack 16-12 in front.
Former Leigh star Liam Kay got his second for Toronto in the 54th minute, with an acrobatic finish in the corner. The conversion was on target and Toronto were 22-12 in front.
And the Canadian outfit extended their lead on the hour mark as Brierley, who used to play for the Centurions, scampered through a gap to dive over in the corner. Leigh 12-26 Toronto.
Brierley added a penalty goal with a couple of minutes remaining to extend his sides lead to 28-12.
Ireland ace Kay added salt to Leigh’s wound as he completed his hat-trick by intercepting a pass and running 50 metres to score in front of the North Stand. Brierley’s conversion saw the Wolfpack seal a comprehensive 34-12 win over title rivals Leigh.
Leigh: 1 Craig Hall; 2 Matty Dawson-Jones, 3 Ben Crooks, 4 Peter Mata’utia, 19 Jack Owens; 6 Ben Reynolds, 7 Drew Hutchison; 8 Paterika Vaivai, 14 Liam Hood, 10 Jamie Acton; 13 Harrison Hansen, 12 Bodene Thompson; 15 Jordan Thompson.
Interchange: 9 Daniel Mortimer, 16 Larne Patrick, 18 Nathan Mason, 17 Kyle Lovett
Toronto: 1 Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e; 19 Adam Higson, 3 Greg Worthington, 23 Nick Rawsthorne, 5 Liam Kay; 6 Josh McCrone (C), 7. Ryan Brierley; 29 Jake Emmitt, 9 Bob Beswick, 28 Sam Hopkins; 11 Andrew Dixon, 24 Cory Paterson; 12 Joe Westerman.
Interchange: 14 Andy Ackers, 15 Adam Sidlow, 8 Jack Buchanan, 13 Jack Bussey.
Referee: Liam Moore