Leigh Leopards player ratings as Wigan Warriors win Battle of the Borough

Ben Olawumi
Josh Charnley

Leigh Leopards ace Josh Charnley in action against former club Wigan Warriors in the first 'Battle of the Borough' in 2024

Leigh Leopards’ Super League win tally in 2024 remains at one, with six games now played after a heavy 40-12 defeat in the first ‘Battle of the Borough’ this year against near neighbours Wigan Warriors.

The Warriors, bouncing back from their first defeat in eight months last time out at St Helens, were dominant throughout and deservedly made the short trip home with two competition points in their back pockets with an eight-try haul.

Adrian Lam’s Leigh remain without Tom Briscoe, Edwin Ipape, captain John Asiata, Tom Amone and Robbie Mulhern, with the last of those a new absentee.

A sell-out crowd of 10,308 watched the local derby at the Leigh Sports Village. Here are our Leopards player ratings.

Gareth O’Brien – 5

A full-back is always under scrutiny more than most, and it was far from O’Brien’s best game in a Leigh shirt.

He dropped the ball and made the error which eventually led to the opening Warriors try, and it was his kick which Jai Field intercepted to go the full length in the second half. In-between, the veteran had a positive involvement in Ricky Leutele’s try for the hosts with a nice kick which caused issues.

Not a night that will live long in the memory for him, or anyone of a Leythers persuasion.

Umyla Hanley – 5

Hanley was one of many whose involvement in the game was incredibly limited. Anything that Leigh seemed to do well on the night went down the opposite edge.

Hard to be too harsh, particularly given the youngster’s form in recent weeks, but he lost out in a one-on-one tackle against Jake Wardle late on which led to Liam Marshall’s try and that was probably his main involvement!

Zak Hardaker – 5

One of four former Wigan players in the Leopards’ 18. He took the usual stick from the away end, but unlike on previous occasions, offered little in response with his performance.

Stopped Wigan in their tracks on a couple of occasions, but again, very little action of note.

Ricky Leutele – 6

A bit of a mixed bag from Leutele, whose rating fluctuated at a few points throughout the 80 minutes. Perhaps harshly, we thought he could – and maybe should – have prevented Bevan French’s first-half try as he failed to put the ball out of play albeit on a slippery surface.

The 33-year-old had a big hand in both of Leigh’s tries on the night though, alert to put the ball down for his own in the first half and providing the pass out wide for Josh Charnley to slide over in the second 40. On a night where Leigh were poor across the park, overall, Leutele was one of their better performers.

Josh Charnley – 6

Charnley falls in the same bracket having had a hand in both tries. He was the one that kept the ball alive with a bit of a kick on into the in-goal area for Leutele to ground, and showed a bit of pace to dart over himself when Leutele returned the favour with his pass out wide in the second half.

To score against his former employers, the Leopards flier did well to avoid an ankle tap from Adam Keighran. We’re convinced he’ll never lose that try-scoring nous.

Matt Moylan – 5

At the end of the first half, Moylan’s rating would have been lower than this having been sin-binned early on before returning and missing a penalty as the hooter sounded having opted to take the two rather than run it when 14 points behind.

The Aussie was fortunate that Field slipped before he connected because he could have been looking at a red, but in the second half his showing did improve and he showed nice hands in the build-up to Charnley’s try. Wigan smothered him in the most part though.

Lachlan Lam – 6

Like Moylan, half-back partner Lam didn’t enjoy a great start. After O’Brien had dropped the ball, he conceded a penalty for a tip tackle on French, and the visitors opened the scoring from that.

Towards the end of the first half, the Leopards ace also saw a kick intercepted by the same man, who looked like he would have gone all the way had he backed himself to do so. Lam is always one of Leigh’s bright sparks and did enough throughout to earn a 6, but it’s a low 6, put it that way. We enjoyed his show and go late on, albeit not leading to anything spectacular.

Dan Norman – 5

We’re about to start a run of fives for Leigh men who really didn’t impact on the game much, be that for better or worse.

Norman had two stints, and as we said didn’t do much wrong, but this was a night where very few stood out in Leopard print.

Ben McNamara – 5

Off-season recruit McNamara was thrown in from the off by boss Lam, and by no real fault of the youngster, tonight showed exactly how much Leigh are missing Papua New Guinea ace Ipape.

When the 22-year-old returned towards the end of the game, he replaced O’Brien and took on a different role, but by then it was too late for any sort of impact. ‘Meh’.

Owen Trout – 5

Trout has started Leigh’s last two games now, one of many being given an opportunity following the spate of injuries to regular starters.

He hasn’t disappointed in either of the two games, including tonight, but was another whose impact was minimal.

Kai O’Donnell – 5

This was O’Donnell’s 55th appearance for Leigh. Courtesy of those injuries, he was one of the Leythers’ longest-serving players on the pitch tonight and of his 54 previous run outs for the club, there won’t have been too many he’ll have enjoyed as little as tonight.

Not to repeat ourselves again, but barring a few tackles, there was little noteworthy action which involved the 25-year-old.

Frankie Halton – 5

Halton very much comes under the same bracket. As a local lad, he’ll have known more than most what this fixture means to fans, and he’ll probably be amongst the downbeat for that same reason.

In terms of the game itself, not much wrong, but not much overly right. Middle of the road.

Jack Hughes – 6

Loose forward Hughes would have continued our run of 5’s but for his tackle to halt French in the first half as he looked to break having picked up the ball from a stray Lam kick.

The 32-year-old won’t shirk a tackle, and didn’t tonight, which is why he gets a 6. He wasn’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but did his job and did it well at times.

Ben Nakubuwai (interchange) – 5

If you’re coming off the bench, your job is to make an impact. The first thing that Fiji international Nakubuwai did was drop the ball and hand possession back to a rampant Warriors side when Leigh desperately needed to hold onto it and relieve some pressure.

Things did improve in the time he spent on the pitch in the second half, with the highlight two nice runs in the same set early on. Those have probably spared him a lower rating to be honest.

Matt Davis (interchange) – 5

Davis is another of those who while watching the game, we didn’t have to make a specific note about, neither in a good or bad sense.

Middle of the road (again) on a night to forget for the Leopards.

Brad Dwyer (interchange) – 7

Loanee Dwyer scoops our Leigh man of the match, and that’s despite not starting. Throughout last week’s defeat at Salford, Dwyer appeared to be limping around, so perhaps that’s the reason he didn’t start tonight. He took a bang early on after coming on too, but powered through and was a shining star on a poor night for Leigh.

Having been unlucky not to take the ball sliding along the floor as he looked to breakaway in the second half, he also fell victim to the surface as he looked to take the ball cleanly having dinked it over a Warriors man to tee up a move upfield.

It didn’t quite happen for him, try as he might in attack, but the try-saver on French in-between was a thing of beauty. He was adamant it wasn’t a try as referee Jack Smith sent it upstairs as one, and was proven right as video ref Liam Moore ruled it out.

Ed Chamberlain (interchange) – N/A

We didn’t want to give Chamberlain a rating given he only came on with 10 minutes left, but had we, it probably would have been a 5.

Like most, he had little impact. In fairness, the game was long done by the time he got his chance. The Ireland international was flattened by Brad O’Neill soon after coming on though, and then knocked a wet ball on as Leigh looked to mount a rare attack. Not a night he’ll remember for long.