St Helens maintained their unbeaten start to the season after a hard fought 22-12 victory over Leigh Centurions at Leigh Sports Village.
It was a scrappy opening to the match, with both sides making mistakes or giving penalties away early on.
Saints eventually took the lead on 20 minutes. Sione Mata’utia took in a short pass from Jonny Lomax and went over after getting through a couple of tackle attempts. Lachlan Coote scored the conversion to open up a six-point lead.
The scrappy nature of the first half continued. Saints would end up paying the price with six minutes left of the first half as Theo Fages was sent to the sin bin for one professional foul too many.
From the resulting field position, Leigh made their advantage count as they found an overlap down the left-hand side and Matty Russell finished in the corner. Ben Reynolds converted to level the scores going into half-time.
Just two minutes into the second half, Saints struck as Jonny Lomax broke free and put Lachlan Coote over for a try. Coote then added the conversion.
It was soon two tries in the opening six minutes of the second half for the Saints. Jack Welsby got the ball out wide, threw a dummy and broke a tackle attempt to get over. Coote scored the conversion to open up a 12-point lead.
However, Leigh hit back almost straight away. Anthony Gelling was able to intercept a pass and race 80m to get over. Reynolds scored the conversion to bring the Centurions back within a try.
Just before the hour, Saints were able to go further in front, as Coote’s cutout pass found Kevin Naiqama in space, who went over. Coote couldn’t add the conversion.
One sour note for Saints was a late injury picked up by James Bentley. He had the ball, and his leg went underneath him during a tackle.
Saints will face Huddersfield Giants in the Challenge Cup next Friday. Leigh will have a week off before facing Wigan Warriors, when they will be welcoming fans back to Leigh Sports Village.
Leigh Centurions: 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.
Subs: Liam Hood, James Bell, Nathaniel Peteru, Alex Gerrard.
Head Coach: John Duffy.
St Helens: 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.
Subs: Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Joe Batchelor, Lewis Dodd.
Head Coach: Kristian Woolf.