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The top of the table beckoned for the Catalans Dragons as they travelled to Leigh to take on a Leopard side who are still looking for their second win of the season as they try to pull away from the sides at the bottom of the table.

Despite the chasm between the two sides on the league table the bookies were struggling to find a favourite but plumped for the visitors but only by handicapping them two points on the coupon, perhaps the premise being that Leigh must gain a win at some point after many close losses.

Leigh are still six points adrift of eighth place Leeds Rhinos but the Dragons knew that a win would lift them to the top of the pile entering round ten next weekend.

There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening exchanges, but the defences of both sides were holding firm. As the game entered it’s second quarter still scoreless, errors started to creep in from both sides.

After spending ten minutes defending inside their own half, a great break and carry from Tom Amone, turning defence into attack, saw the Leopards down to the Dragons thirty metres before a fast play the ball allowed the ball to be moved wide left for Josh Charnley to scamper in. Matt Moylan added the conversion, the home fans delighted.

On thirty-three a mistake from Zak Hardaker appeared to have cost the home side dear but the video referee agreed with the on-field official when it was judged that Tom Johnstone had knocked on as he picked the ball up.

On the half time hooter the Dragons were awarded a penalty for a Leigh two man ball steal and Arthur Mourgue kicked the goal from thirty metres to reduce the arrears at the interval to 6-2.

Six minutes after the restart Lachlan Lam was the inspiration as he wrongfooted the Dragons defence before using Moylan to put Kai O’Donnell over to the delight of the Leopards fans. Moylan added the touchline conversion for 12-2, the Dragons dreams of a return to the top lying in tatters.

On forty-nine the Leopards were in again after a superb looping pass from Moylan into the hands of a grateful Umyla Hanley to cross in an acre of space and ground in the corner. Moylan was again on target with a difficult conversion for 18-2, the home side starting to run away with the game.

With twenty-six minutes remaining John Asiata made his return to action for the home side.

When it looked like Brad Dwyer had run himself down a cul-de-sac, he passed to a charging O’Donnell to take the pass, crash the line, and go in from twenty metres to score. Moylan added the conversion for 24-2, the Dragons not at the races.

From nowhere Matt Moylan added the fifth Leigh try of the night as he smashed through the line off an Asiata pass to outpace the Dragons defenders and dive over by the uprights. He converted his own try for a startling 30-2 lead, Leigh putting on a Friday night masterclass at the Leigh Sports Village.

Whether it was a tired Dragons who arrived in Leigh for tonight’s game, or one which seriously underestimated their opposition, they seemed woefully unprepared to take on a Leigh side who have been close to winning many more than their single victory in 2024 would have suggested. Everything went right for the home side in front of their own fans as they fully deserved the two points as they stifled the French side and neutralised their normal gallic flair with a performance out of the top drawer to delight the home fans and shatter the Dragons hope of returning to the top of the table.

Leigh Leopards: Moylan (T, 5G), Hanley (T), Hardaker, Leutele, Charnley (T), McNamara, Lam, Amone, Davis, Trout, O’Donnell (2T), Halton, Hughes.  Subs: Norman, Asiata, Holmes, Dwyer. 18th Man: Brogan.

Catalans Dragons: Mourgue (G), Davies, Romano, Ikuvalu, Johnstone, Rougé, Fages, Seguier, Da Costa, Navarrete, Sims, Sironen, Garcia. Subs: Nikorima, Nikorima, Satae, Maria. 18th Man: Yaha. 

Half-Time: 6-2.

Full-Time: 30-2.

Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-2 : HT: 10-2, 12-2, 16-2, 18-2, 22-2, 24-2, 28-2, 30-2 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Leigh.

Referee: Aaron Moore.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 26th Apr 2024 9:46 PM | Views : 5303 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES