Fans were back in the Leigh Sports Village to welcome their Leigh Centurions to the field as they hoped to secure their first win of the season against fellow strugglers the Huddersfield Giants and lift themselves off the bottom of the table.
The two sides have met this season in the Betfred Challenge Cup, the Giants winning by 36-18 in the game played in April, but the last Super League encounters were back in 2017, Leigh winning their home game by 30-0 while losing at Huddersfield by 26-4 later in the season.
The Giants were favourites for the win with Leigh being given a twelve-point start on the handicap coupon.
The opening exchanges were all very frantic with errors from both sides. It was the Giants who blinked first when Anthony Gelling found Lewis Tierney who ran over the top of Gaskell to score the first try of the game. Ben Reynolds couldn’t find the target with his conversion, but the rugby starved home crowd were delighted.
The Giants were back level off a great Jack Cogger offload into the hands of Ricky Leutele just before the half hour mark after they worked the ball downfield from the halfway line in a productive set of six. Aidan Sezer added the conversion for a 6-4 lead.
When the Giants were penalised for offside in front of their own sticks, Reynolds kicked the penalty goal to level the scores.
After a high tackle on Sezer by Tierney the Giants elected to take the penalty kick and regained a two-point lead and when Tyrone McCarthy tackled Sezer off the ball the Giants talisman kicked the Giants into a 10-6 half time lead.
Jermaine McGillvary had a try ruled out for offside on forty-five, but two minutes later the Giants were in on the last tackle as Kenny Edwards went down the blind side, passed to Gaskell who returned the pass for Edwards to complete the last fifteen metres to ground. Sezer added the conversion for 16-6.
The Giants won the game on fifty-eight minutes after a Sezer break downfield drew the defence before he put in a long pass to Wardle who made it to the line to score. Sezer pushed his kick wide of the sticks, Huddersfield with a fourteen-point lead.
James Bell was sin-binned on the hour mark after a dangerous tackle, already up against it they were down to twelve men.
The crowd were getting increasingly agitated and when Adam O’Brien scooted from acting half-back to score by the sticks with thirteen left on the clock it was now a lost cause for the home side. Sezer kicked his fifth goal of the game for a 26-6 lead.
Gaskell was the provider for the Giants fifth try as he found a pass to Jermaine McGillvary to go over and when Sezer added the conversion from wide it had turned into a comprehensive win for the visitors.
With two minutes remaining Leutele got his second of the afternoon after McIntosh collected a Sezer kick to the wing and threw the pass inside for the centre to go in under the sticks. Sezer added the conversion.
On the last play of the game, after the final hooter had sounded, Michael Lawrence won the race to collect a Sezer kick to the centre field and dot the ball down to bring up the forty. Sezer added the conversion for a final score of 44-6.
The Giants took their time and absorbed the early pressure before grinding out a first half lead but they were like a different side in the second half as they demolished a Leigh side lacking ideas and defensive mettle. Aidan Sezer is at the centre of everything that the Giants do, and he was the architect of most of this afternoons tries. With Wakefield picking up a win over Hull KR the Centurions are now alone at the bottom of the pile, the only side without a win in 2021, the Giants continue their revival.
Leigh Centurions: Elliot, Tierney (T), Gelling, Thornley, Russell, Reynolds (G), Ellis, Ioane, Peats, Sidlow, Hellewell, Thompson, Bell (SB on 60). Subs: Sa’u, Wildie, Peteru, McCarthy.
Huddersfield Giants: Gaskell, McGillvary (T), Wardle (T), Leutele (2T), McIntosh, Sezer (8G), Cogger, Lawrence (T), Cunningham, Greenwood, Edwards (T), Jones, Yates. Subs: O’Brien (T), Trout, English, McQueen.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.
Score Progression: 4-0, 4-4, 4-6, 6-6, 6-8, 6-10 : HT : 6-14, 6-16, 6-20, 6-24, 6-26, 6-30, 6-32, 6-36, 6-38, 6-42, 6-44 : FT.