Castleford Tigers taught the Leigh Centurions a harsh lesson on their return to the Super League tonight, thrashing them 44-16 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
After an end to end start to the game, it was the Tigers who got the first try after 20 minutes.
Leigh were punished after conceding a penalty for offside and then two play-the-ball’s later, Luke Gale was put through a gap by Grant Millington to score. Gale was then able to convert his try for a six-point lead.
Just four minutes later, debutant Jesse Sene-Lefao got his first Tigers try after the Centurions were caught out by a quick offload from Mike McMeekan. The offload stretched the defence and the former Cronulla forward was able to go over easily.
Gale added his second conversion of the night to make it 12-0.
It then got worse for Leigh ten minutes later as another mistake was punished. They gifted the Tigers possession and after spreading the ball, Greg Minikin was put through. Gale then kept up his 100 per cent record from the boot for an 18-point lead.
It was soon 20-0 just before half time after Dayne Weston was punished for holding onto McMeekan right in front of the posts and Gale made no mistake with his kick.
Two minutes before half time Minikin grabbed his second try of the game after brilliant play from Jake Webster to draw the Leigh defenders out to him, leaving the former York City Knights winger with acres of space to score.
Gale’s record with the boot remained intact for a 26-0 lead at the interval.
The Centurions needed a big start to the second half, but they conceded within 90 seconds of the restart as more indiscipline punished them.
Webster had the ball illegally stripped and from the resulting field position, Junior Moors was able to crash over next to the post and Gale carried his perfect record on into the second half.
Leigh needed to respond and they did finally through debutant Ryan Hampshire.
He was put through a gap by Josh Drinkwater after a penalty was given against Castleford right in front of the posts for a flop. Martyn Ridyard hit the post with his conversion attempt.
But their reprieve was short-lived after Hampshire dropped the ball under a bomb and Gale managed to kick the ball forward with Greg Eden in close attendance. The former Bradford Bulls halfback was able to touch down for his second four-pointer of the night.
He converted his own try again in what was becoming an exhibition in kicking from the England international.
Eden did get his own try just a few minutes later as another dropped ball was punished by Cas. They spread the ball wide expertly once again and the former Brisbane Broncos winger crossed for his first try back in Super League.
Gale nailed the conversion again to stretch the lead to 40 points.
Leigh then picked up their second consolation try with 10 minutes to go as a brilliant spinning pass from Drinkwater found Matty Dawson. Ridyard was able to make the conversion out wide to put the Centurions into double figures.
But this wasn’t the last word Leigh would have as a landmark 100th career try came for Danny Tickle from another brilliant pass from Drinkwater.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Centurion as they welcome Leeds Rhinos to the Leigh Sports Village next Friday night. Castleford have a week off due to the World Club Challenge, but will travel to Warrington Wolves in two weeks’ time.