Leigh coach Paul Rowley has praised his side’s spirit after they fought back from an 8-0 half-time deficit to win 28-12 at Dewsbury and maintain their winning start to the season.
Dewsbury were reduced to 12 men when Matthew Haggarty was sent off for a late challenge on Leigh scrum half Ryan Brierley just before half-time. And with the strong wind at their backs after the restart, Centurions took full advantage of the extra man.
“Dewsbury had a strong game plan and worked our edges really well,” said Rowley. “But we were expecting that - they are a good team especially at home and well coached.
“It was a well earned win from our point of view and was the proverbial game of two halves.”
The red card for Haggarty which proved so pivotal was fully deserved according to Rowley.
“Ryan had been clipped three of four times before that challenge,” he said. “From where I was it was the right decision. We need to be protective of good, young players like Ryan so I think it was the right call.
“Our completion rate was well down in the first half but there were periods in the second when we at 100 per cent completion. When we get the ball in good areas, we will score tries. We had the right attitude.”
Tries from Liam Kay and Brierley at the start of the second half saw Leigh claw back the deficit. Further scores from Tom Spencer and Kurt Haggerty completed the turnaround while Brierley scored a second 12 minutes from time. Martyn Ridyard also kicked five conversions from as many attempts.
With Doncaster and Halifax suffering surprise defeats, the win saw Leigh stretch their lead at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship to seven points over second placed Featherstone.
The win extended Leigh’s record for most wins at the start of a season to 13 and put them within sight of another. If Leigh beat Doncaster on Sunday they will match a feat achieved twice - 14 consecutive wins. This was set in the 1981/82 season and then matched in 1985/86.