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Saints battle to victory over Centurions

Saints weren't at their slick best, but three second half tries made it five wins from five in the Betfred Super League after a 22-12 victory over a dogged Leigh Centurions at Leigh Sports Village in a game which saw James Bentley stretchered off late on with a nasty looking leg injury.

Jake Wingfield started at loose forward, whilst Kevin Naiqama again took his place on the wing with Tommy Makinson missing with his foot injury.

It was an even start and it took until the 20 minute mark for Saints to break the deadlock. Sione Mata’utia grabbed his first try in Saints colours after another assist by Jonny Lomax. Lachlan Coote converted to make it 6-0.

The game continued to hot up as did the penalty count as both sides struggled for a real foot hold. Regan Grace thought he was through after another Lomax ball out wide, but some good Leigh scrambling on the line denied him.

The Leythers thought they had got back into it on the half hour mark after Nathaniel Peteru went over, but the referee ruled the pass forward, before Grace flew down the line on the return, but failed to find Coote with his pass and it stayed at 6-0.

Saints were rather ill-disciplined, giving away a number of penalties and Theo Fages was sin binned as a result. The Centurions capitalised on the extra man with a quick move out left and Matty Russell dived in at the corner. Ben Reynolds levelled things up from the touchline and it was 6-6 at the break.

Saints came out for the second half with a point to prove and the influential Lomax broke through the defensive line, before passing to the supporting Coote who went over for his first try of the season. He added the extras to his own try to make it 12-6 after 43 minutes.

Jack Welsby made it back to back tries for Saints despite being a man down, as Coote found the youngster who dummied before going over. Coote made it three from three and it 18-6 after 46 minutes.

Saints looked to be through on the left minutes later, but Anthony Gelling intercepted a Coote ball and went the length of the pitch to get one back for Centurions against the run of play. Reynolds added the extras, to make it 18-12.

But Kevin Naiqama restored Saints cushion as he grabbed his fourth try of the season 10 minutes later after a brilliant ball out wide by Coote. His pass took two defenders out the of fray leaving the Fijian free to touch down unchallenged in the corner. Coote missed the two from out wide, leaving the score at 22-12 with 20 minutes to play.

Kristian Woolf’s men continued to crank up the pressure as Leigh gave away another penalty which Coote chose to kick, but he fired wide of the sticks when bang in front.

There was a sour end to the game though as Bentley was stretchered off after an awkward fall, but despite not being at their best, Saints came away with the two points.

Match Summary:

Leigh 13: Ryan Brierley, Junior Sa’u, Anthony Gelling, Iain Thornley, Matty Russell, Ben Reynolds, Matty Wildie, Ben Flower, Nathan Peats, Nathan Mason, Ben Hellewell, Jordan Thompson, Tyrone McCarthy.

Interchanges: Liam Hood, James Bell, Nathaniel Peteru, Alex Gerrard.

Tries: Russell (36), Gelling (48)

Conversions: Reynolds (2 of 2)

Saints 13: Lachlan Coote, Kevin Naiqama, Jack Welsby, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Sione Mata’utia, James Bentley, Jake Wingfield.

Interchanges: Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Joe Batchelor, Lewis Dodd.

Tries: Mata’utia (20), Coote (42), Welsby (45), Naiqama (59)

Conversions: Coote (3 of 4)

Half time: 6-6

Full time: 12-22

Referee: Marcus Griffiths

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