With the Leigh Centurions already relegated from Super League after a disappointing season, all that remained was for them to play for pride and possibly to ruin Hull KR’s season as the two sides met in the final game of the Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
A win for the Robins would lift them to within striking distance of sixth placed Castleford Tigers should Daryl Powell’s side slip up in their closing two games but more importantly for their supporters it would extend their win percentage lead over the Black and White side of the city to secure them a winter of bragging rights over their most ferocious enemies.
After eighteen minutes of stalemate Matty Storton dragged two Leigh tacklers over the line and looked to have forced the ball onto the ground by the left upright but after referring the decision to the video referee as a try referee Griffiths was over-ruled and the try turned down.
On twenty-two it was the Centurions who took the lead, totally against the run of play, as Matty Russell took a short ball from Iain Thornley on the overlap to go in from ten metres and score in the corner. Ryan Brierley added the touchline conversion for a 6-0 lead.
As the clock approached the half hour Ben Crooks finally made the pressure count as he spun out of the tackle to ground in the right-hand corner. Joe Keyes was unable to add the conversion from the touchline, the Centurions still two points ahead.
Three minutes later the Robins were in front as Albert Vete stretched out an arm to get the ball on the ground despite the interest of several Leigh tacklers. Scoring under the sticks it made the Keyes conversion a formality for 10-6.
Vete went close again on thirty-four but this time he was held up by an aggressive defensive effort and just four points separated the sides as they went into the break.
Rovers extended their lead two minutes after the restart with Ryan Hall crabbing across the field before finding Brad Takairangi to go over from three metres. Keyes added the conversion for 16-6, Rovers edging towards the win.
On forty-six Matt Parcell went over for the fourth KR try as he pushed through the Leigh tackles and then stretched over his head to ground. Keyes was again accurate with the boot for 22-6.
A Hull KR ball steal on fifty-three, followed by fast hands out to Ryan Hall for the flying winger to get over and ground in the left corner. It was a tough kick for Keyes and he hit the upright with his effort from the touchline.
Jimmy Keinhorst conjured a try from nowhere when he received the ball twenty out and weaved through a tired defence to score under the sticks. Keyes added the conversion for 32-6.
It was all too easy as Leigh fell off more tackles as Storton pushed aside three tacklers on the second play after Leigh had been forced to drop out. Keyes added the conversion, KR long since home and hosed.
A dropped Leigh ball was picked up by Crooks who broke for the line and then generously passed the ball to Keyes to get a four pointer on his debut. Keyes added the conversion for 44-6, a rout.
Despite going behind early on, once Hull KR hit their straps there was no looking back as they ran in their highest score of the season in putting Leigh to the sword. It was a solid and professional second half performance, but they will need to turn in two more like it, starting with the game against the Tigers next week, if they hope to make it into the play-offs.
Leigh Centurions: Brand, Elliot, Sa’u, Thornley, Russell (T), Mellor, Brierley (G), Gerrard, Hood, Sidlow, Stone, Hellewell, Bell. Subs: Thompson, Mullen, Foster, Whitbread.
Hull KR: Dagger, Crooks (T), Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Hall (T), Keyes (T, 6G), Lewis, King, Parcell (T), Maher, Takairangi (T), Linnett, Storton (T). Subs: Vete (T), Litten, Johnson, Keinhorst (T).
Referee: Marcus Griffiths.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-8, 6-10 : HT : 6-14, 6-16, 6-20, 6-22, 6-26, 6-30, 6-32, 6-36, 6-38, 6-42, 6-44 : FT.