Leigh Centurions were shown the level to which they should aspire as they were given a lesson in finishing by a Warrington side tipped to be among the Super League favourites for the Championship.
As always, the continual changing of players to give them a taste of the action takes its toll, but Centurions coach Ian Millward would still have been pleased with the effort and some of the performances of his players ahead of their own campaign to lift the Northern Rail Cup and Co-operative Championship.
Chris Hill, Ricky Bibey and David Mills went well in the pack and Stuart Littler showed his Super League pedigree on a number of occasions, as did Robbie Hunter-Paul. But after a sketchy start, Warrington started to make their passes stick and their extra pace, power and speed of thought put them on their way to a comfortable success that was fully orchestrated by hooker Mike Monaghan and half backs Lee Briers and Richie Myler.
After a faltering start that saw stand off Martyn Ridyard put the ball into touch on the full, Leigh started to apply pressure and were unlucky when Mick Nanyn lost the ball when going for the line off Ridyard’s pass. But on seven minutes Leigh’s enterprise was rewarded when Stuart Donlan joined the line and slipped a lovely pass round the man to set Littler clear. The former Salford man then coolly put Steve Maden away down the right for him to cross and give Leigh a lead that Nanyn then converted to six points.
Warrington were soon level after pressure saw Adrian Morley slip a pass to Michael Monaghan and his clever kick gave Matt King the easiest of chances to score in the corner. Brett Hodgson then goaled from wide out to level.
Leigh lived dangerously, scrambling well to deny Warrington tries after good breaks from Lee Briers and Richie Myler split them open down the middle, but on 22 minutes they could do nothing when Jamie Ellis was slow with his attempted clearance kick and Michael Monaghan charged it down to regather and then race unopposed for a second Hodgson goaled try.
Nanyn again lost the ball as he drove for the Wolves line, but it was Warrington hitting back spectacularly when Michael Monaghan put a cut-out pass to Hodgson and he sent Ryan Atkins away, before the centre then sent King striding home for his second try on 31 minutes. Hodgson was on the mark again from the touchline. Changes were being made in both sides, and Leigh’s lack of cohesion saw Mike Monaghan start to take control, putting in an astute kick for brother Joel, only for Donlan to do well to haul the Aussie international down before Briers popped up to put the wingman in for a fourth Warrington try moments later.
Hodgson then goaled from the right hand touchline and Warrington had a 24-6 interval lead.
Warrington whipped into action from the restart, David Solomona putting King away on the restart and although Donlan tackled the winger in full flight, a cracking Briers pass to Joel Monaghan set up a try within 60 seconds of the first whistle. Joel Monaghan turned the ball inside for Bridge and his kick to the posts was gathered by Myler to slide over for the inevitable Hodgson goaled try.
On 48 minutes Briers intercepted Ellis’ pass and after Bridge and Joel Monaghan combined he finished the move 70 metres later under the posts.
Leigh hit back when McGilvray went in from dummy half after a string surge from Paul took him close, but Nanyn was wide with the kick.
Warrington were now capitalising on Leigh mistakes and when Hunter-Paul and Dean McGilvray made a hash of a Bridge kick, the centre hacked on for Matty Blythe to score against the club he played for most of last season.
Changes disrupted the flow of both sides but Solomona forced is way over for Warrington’s eighth try, Rhys Williams added a ninth to bring the 50up. Craig Harvey grabbed the 10th try on the intercept with two minutes remaining and Hodgson made it eight from eight for him on an impressive debut.
Leigh Centurions: Donlan; Maden, Littler, Nanyn, McGilvray; Ridyard, Ellis; Bibey, Duffy, Hill, Goulden, Nash, Taylor; subs (all used) - Pownall, Govin, Meekin, Thornley, Nicholson, Mills, Paul, Briscoe, Hopkins.
Tries: Maden(7) McGilvray (52)
Goals : Nanyn 1/2
Tries: King (12, 31), M Monaghan (22), J Monaghan (39), Myler (41), Briers (48), Blythe (58), Solomona (69), Williams (72), Harvey (79)
Goals: Hodgson 8/8, Westwood 0/1, Harvey 1/1
Half time: 6-24
Referee: Gareth Hewer