Leigh Centurions 12 Toronto Wolfpack 34

Leigh v Toronto
Leigh v Toronto
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Leigh's Betfred Championship campaign could not have got off to a worse start as they were comprehensively outplayed by Toronto Wolfpack at Leigh Sports Village.

Despite leading 12-0 inside 10 minutes, Leigh failed to build on that platform and their second-half performance was particularly worrying, conceding try after try without posing any attacking threat.

It was a particularly sweet return for Toronto coach Paul Rowley who left Leigh on the eve of the 2016 season - not to mention the many former Centurions players who were lining up against their former employers.

Winger Liam Kay scored a hat-trick and Ryan Brierley and Cory Paterson also crossed for tries as the Wolfpack won the first-ever game between the sides.

"I am really disappointed," said Jukes. "I expected a tough game and for them to challenge us but we stopped playing after about 15 minutes.

"We got caught up in the emotional stuff and didn't do what we intended to do. It was a stop-start game with probably more penalties than we'd had in our last two preseason games put together.

"The game became slow and scruffy and we played into their hands. You expect players to try and play their best game against their former club and that's what they did."

Leigh had 10 players making their debuts and pre-match talk of the backstory of Rowley, Brierley and the rest would have been lost on them. And the pre-season games against Wigan and St Helens suggested Leigh's new-look line-up would be ready for the Championship kick-off. So this was a performance which left the majority of the LSV crowd dumbfounded.

Only three minutes had gone when newly-installed skipper Harrison Hansen opened the scoring. He powered over after Drew Hutchison and Peter Mata'utia combined well on the left side. Ben Reynolds added the conversion.

A second try moments later made it a perfect start for the Centurions. Matty Dawson had a simple task to finish out wide after some slick passing along the line. Reynolds kicked the extras.

But having suffered those early blows, Toronto grew into the game with the breaks of Brierley and alert organisation of Bob Beswick at dummy half putting Leigh on the backfoot and making it feel like 2015 if you were a Centurions supporter.

Toronto were off the mark in the 20th minute when substitute Adam Sidlow barged his way in from close range and Brierley kicked the conversion.

Pre-match, a lot of the talk was when we'd see the first card and it duly arrived in the 22nd minute when Adam Higson saw yellow for a late shot on Nathan Mason. Despite being down to 12-men, it was Toronto who scored the next try. Ex-Leigh winger Kay slid in at the corner as he had done for so many times as a Centurion but Brierley was off target with the conversion.

Despite a flurry of penalties as the half drew to a close, neither side was able to find a way through so Leigh held a two-point lead at the break.

Nine minutes of the second half had been played when Leigh gifted Toronto the lead. A poor kick from Reynolds when straight to former Centurions backrower Cory Paterson and he ran 70 metres to score a try which Brierley converted.

The score signaled what can only be described as a collapse from the Centurions. Kay got his second in the 54th minute at the corner and Brierley's touchline conversion made it 22-12 to the Wolfpack.

Moments later, it was Brierley, Leigh's one-time posterboy producing a nice turn of speed off the mark to race to the tryline though could not add the goal.

Leigh continued to toil without seriously troubling the visitors' tryline and they were guilty of some rudimentary errors for example, tackled with the ball on the last tackle several times.

A Brierley penalty kept the scoreboard tickingand with time almost up, Kay completed his hat-trick which Brierley again goaled for a final score of 34-12.

Leigh: Hall, Dawson, Crooks, Matautia, Owens, Reynolds, Hutchison, Vaivai, Hood, Acton, Hansen, B Thompson, J Thompson. Subs: Mortimer, Patrick, Mason, Lovett

Toronto: Lauka-Togagae, Higson, Worthington, Rawsthorne, Kay, McCrone, Brierley, Emmit, Beswick, Hopkins, Dixon, Paterson, Westerman. Subs: Ackers, Sidlow, Buchanan, Bussey