St Helens 16-6 Leigh: Match Report & Talking Points

Josh Simm St Helens

St Helens marked Alex Walmsley’s testimonial with a friendly win over Leigh at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Tommy Makinson’s try was all that separated the sides at half-time in what a close first half. Second half efforts from Josh Simm and James Bell then won the match for Saints.

Leigh did have their moments, and managed to score a try through Joe Wardle. However, there is plenty for both sides to build on heading into the new season.

Match Report

The first half was a fairly even contest, with both sides having chances before the deadlock was broken. Leigh got close early on, but Ben Reynolds’ kick went dead. While Saints forced a repeat set 10 metres from the try-line, but a poor kick from Lewis Dodd on the last tackle saw the chance wasted.

The first points of the game did not arrive until just before half-time. Joey Lussick, who had not long replaced James Roby, broke well through the middle to get Saints up the field. From the resulting field position, they managed to spread the ball out to Makinson, who scored out wide. Dodd missed the conversion from out wide, to leave their lead at four points.

HT- St Helens 4-0 Leigh

Just minutes into the second half, Saints doubled their advantage. They managed to get the ball out wide, with Konrad Hurrell and Simm in space, and the Tongan was able to put Simm over for the try. Dodd managed to score the conversion from out wide to put St Helens into double figures.

Leigh almost hit back soon after. They kept the ball alive well, Nene Macdonald managed to get the ball out to Caleb Aekins, who then found Kieran Dixon on the touchline. Dixon thought he had scored, but the touch judge had ruled he was in touch.

The Centurions had their tails up, and began to sense an opportunity after that. They got their try just past the hour mark. Joe Wardle ran onto a ball and proved too strong for the Saints defenders and got over. Reynolds converted to leave the Centurions just four points behind.

But with the clock winding down, Saints made the game safe. James Bell marked his debut with a try, after managing to break through a gap in the Leigh defence to score. That set the stage for testimonial man Walmsley to step up and take the conversion. He managed to put it between the sticks, much to the delight of the crowd.

That proved to be one of the final acts of the match. That was the only friendly for Saints, they now take on Catalans in the Super League opener in February. As for Leigh, they open their Championship campaign at home to Whitehaven.

Team News

St Helens: Welsby, Hopoate, Hurrell, Davies, Makinson, Lomax, Dodd, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Royle, Batchelor, McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Subs: Lussick, Paasi, Amor, Wingfield, Bell, Simm, Norman, Bennsion, Baxter, Martyn, Corkhill, Archer, Moss.

T: Makinson, Simm, Bell

G: Dodd 1/2, Walmsley 1/1

Leigh: Aekins, Hitchcox, Brand, Macdonald, Nisbet, Reynolds, Mellor, Sidlow, Smith, Green, Wardle, Stone, Amone. Subs: Hingano, Chamberlain, Jones, Asiata, Roberts, Dixon, Ioane.

T: Wardle

G: Reynolds 1/1

Three talking points

St Helens get the job done

It was their first hit-out of 2022, and whilst there are definitely areas to improve, Saints did enough to keep Leigh at arms’ length throughout the match.

It could potentially have been more, had a couple of combinations had paid off.

Promising signs for Leigh

The fact that Leigh were able to frustrate St Helens for large periods will no doubt be of promise to Adrian Lam.

They managed to create a couple of decent attacking opportunities, but couldn’t quite convert them into points.

Nene Macdonald looks a real catch for Leigh

Nene Macdonald made his first appearance for the Centurions since his arrival at the club, and definitely showed what he was worth.

His steps had the Saints defence scrambling a few times, particularly in the first half.

Read More: Alex Walmsley can see himself retiring at St Helens

About Steven Hughes 383 Articles
Love Rugby League writer.

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