The Qualifiers: Leigh Centurions 26-36 Hull KR
|Leigh (24) 26|
|Tries: Brierley, McNally, Dixon, Armstrong Goals: Ridyard 5|
|Hull KR (6) 36|
|Tries: Chisholm. Dixon, Blair, Puletua, Lunt, Cockayne Goals: Mantellato 6|
Hull KR survived a real scare to beat Championship winners Leigh Centurions and make a winning start to The Qualifiers.
Challenge Cup finalists Rovers took an early lead but were then blitzed by four tries from Leigh before the break.
Five unanswered tries after half-time swung the game Rovers' way to end Leigh's 32-game unbeaten run at home.
Rovers are one of the four Super League teams in the Qualifiers division, joined by the Championship's top four.
After Dane Chisholm's breakaway score put Rovers ahead, Leigh's adventure was evident with offloads creating the platform for Ryan Brierley and Gregg McNally tries.
Andrew Dixon and Tom Armstrong showed the Centurions' left-edge threat to score before half-time.
However, Rovers rallied after the break to cross through Kieran Dixon, Maurice Blair, Tony Puletua, Shaun Lunt and Ben Cockayne.
Leigh Centurions head coach Paul Rowley:
"We have a habit of starting the second half slowly and we missed a massive opportunity. We are certainly kicking ourselves but we showed we can compete.
"One cup final has gone, there are six to go. Our attitude in defending aggressively was not good enough and that gave them territory. They played some good rugby and caused us problems.
"Our kicking was pretty average but one more try would have taken the game away from Hull KR. We were the reason for our downfall."
Hull KR head coach Chris Chester:
"Leigh could have scored more tries in the first half and we had a few blokes feeling sorry for themselves. We looked very ordinary.
"We've had a tough few weeks but there were a few choice words at half-time and I put a rocket up them and they responded. It was a gutsy win and we showed plenty of character.
"Shaun Lunt coming back on gave the boys a lift. Tony Puletua and James Greenwood were impressive for us and Ben Cockayne insisted on coming back on after suffering a bad eye gash. But I thought Leigh were the better team overall."
Leigh: McNally; Higson, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Moimoi, Beswick, Emmitt, Dixon, Goulden, Hock.
Replacements: Higham, Wilkes, Barlow, Hopkins.
Hull KR: Dixon; Cockayne, Sio, Welham, Mantellato; Chisholm, Blair, Walker, Lunt, Puletua, Larroyer, Horne, McCarthy.
Replacements: Tilse, Greenwood, Donaldson, Ollett.
Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL)