Talking points: Leigh extend lead at top of Championship with dominant victory over rivals

Josh McAllister
Leigh Centurions Championship

Leigh Centurions extended their lead at the top of the Championship following a dominant 46-16 victory over promotion-chasing rivals Featherstone Rovers. 

John Asiata opened the scoring for the Centurions just six minutes in thanks to a pass from team-mate Adam Sidlow. Former NRL superstar Blake Ferguson sliced through the defensive line soon after, before going on to assist full-back Caleb Aekins for his first of the evening.

Substitute Edwin Ipape scored a crucial try on 33 minutes, flying over thanks to an offload from Sidlow close to the line.

Featherstone came back into the game before half-time for a 24-10 score, with Connor Jones scoring, while Joey Leilua scored their first.

Aekins scored his second on 47 minutes and Leigh continued their scoring through Ed Chamberlain, Sam Stone, Joe Wardle and Lachlan Lam.

Sam Eseh scored Featherstone’s only try in the second 40.

Talking points

Super Leigh Super Lam

Head coach Adrian Lam looks like he’s almost preparing for life in Super League in 2023. The arrival of his son and Papua New Guinea international Lachlan Lam is a massive boost for their promotion push and would fit right in the Super League competition.

He made 31 appearances in the NRL, having made his debut in 2019. The 24-year-old was introduced from the bench for his debut in the second half. He assisted Wardle with one of his first touches before scoring a try of his own.

Best hooker outside Super League?

There was a superb battle of the hookers between Featherstone’s Jones and Leigh’s Ipape. However, Papua New Guinea international Ipape looks to be leading the way for the title of the best hooker outside the top division. He’s impressed that much in his debut year that the Centurions have tied him down to a new three-year deal

Red cards

Nene Macdonald and Tyla Hepi will find themselves in trouble at this week’s disciplinary. Both players were sent from the field in the first half for throwing punches and will no doubt face a lengthy ban in a crucial period of the season.

Impressive Eseh

Powerful forward Sam Eseh was arguably the only player who stood out for Featherstone. The Wakefield youngster, currently on loan to the Championship outfit, assisted the second try and crashed over for the club’s only four-pointer of the second half. Eseh was handed his first professional contract by Trinity ahead of the 2021 season and is yet to make his first-team debut for his parent club. 

Worrying Rovers

Featherstone boss Brian McDermott will be worried about his side, especially their defence. The Yorkshire outfit have conceded 92 points in their last three Championship fixtures.

Meanwhile, a lot of key players for Rovers went missing at Headingley Stadium. Johnathon Ford got his first starting opportunity but didn’t have an immediate impact. Half-back partner Morgan Smith also had a very quiet evening.

Match stats

Featherstone: Broadbent, Gale, Leilua, Hall, Lineham, Smith, Ford, Springer, Jones, Moors, Hardcastle, Hellewell, Wildie. Bench: Ferres, Fleming, Eseh, Hepi.

Tries: Leilua, Jones, Eseh

Red card: Hepi

Leigh: Aekins, Ferguson, Chamberlain, Macdonald, Charnley, Reynolds, Mellor, Nakubuwai, Smith, Sidlow, Wardle, Stone, Asiata. Bench: O’Donnell, McDonnell, Lam, Ipape. 

Tries: Asiata, Ferguson, Aekins (2), Ipape, Chamberlain, Stone, Wardle, Lam.

Red card: Macdonald

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