Leigh Centurions won their first match in a year, as they beat St Helens 25-24 at the Totally Wicked Stadium in Tommy Makinson’s testimonial.
Saints were dealt a blow in the opening minutes, as James Roby was forced off for a Head Injury Assessment after a colission in a tackle. Aaron Smith came on for him.
Without their star man, Saints struggled to get going. They thought they were in through Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, but referee James Child deemed he did not get the ball down in time.
Leigh came down the other end and scored as Jamie Ellis got on the end of a kick to score. Ellis then scored the conversion for a six-point lead.
Saints levelled the match just past the first quarter, as Mark Percival broke free down the left hand side, and put Kevin Naiqama over to score. Tommy Makinson added the conversion.
The hosts then took the lead just past the half hour, as Joel Thompson got on the end of a Jack Welsby kick to score his first try for the club. Makinson converted to make it a six-point lead.
Saints added a third before the break, as Makinson took in a pass from Jonny Lomax, and cut back inside to score. He then converted his own try to make it 10 points for him on the night.
Leigh managed to strike back eight minutes into the second half, as Matty Russell got the ball out wide, and used his strength to cut back inside and score. Ellis added the conversion to bring the Centurions back to within six points.
The Centurions levelled soon after, as Adam Sidlow powered over from short range under the posts. Ellis added the conversion for the visitors.
Just four minutes later, Leigh turned the game on its head as Joe Mellor’s kick found an onrushing Ryan Brierley, who touched it down in the in-goal. Ellis added the conversion to put them ahead by six points.
But Saints refused to lie down, and after a great run from Tom Nisbet, Tommy Makinson went over for his second. Makinson then converted to level the score.
But Leigh popped up right at the end, brilliantly keeping the ball alive, before Brierley added the match-winning drop-goal.
Leigh have one more friendly before the start of the season, as they travel to Warrington Wolves on Thursday night in Chris Hill’s testimonial.
As for Saints, they have a week off before they face Salford Red Devils in their first Super League clash.
St Helens: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Josh Simm, Mark Percival, Kevin Naiqama, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Joel Thompson, James Bentley, Sione Mata’utia.
Subs: Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Aaron Smith, Lewis Dodd, Jake Wingfield, Josh Eaves, Dan Norman, Tom Nisbet, Matty Foster, Nico Rizzelli, Ben Davies, Sam Royle.
Head Coach: Kristian Woolf.
Leigh Centurions: Ryan Brierley, Matty Russell, Iain Thornley, Junior Sa’u, Keanan Brand, Jamie Ellis, Joe Mellor, Nathan Mason, Liam Hood, Mark Ioane, Ben Hellewell, Matty Gee, Jordan Thompson.
Subs: Matty Wildie, Alex Gerrard, Nathaniel Peteru, Adam Sidlow, Craig Mullen, Tom Spencer.
Head Coach: John Duffy.