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While the prestige is in the Super League Super 8s, the interest is in the Qualifiers 8s where the battle for four 2016 Super League spots will be contested by eight very capable sides.

With a clean points slate the top four Championship teams get to pit their skills against the bottom four Super League sides from the opening part of the season. There are some mouthwatering prospects which would take a brave man to predict the outcomes, and today the actions starts with Leigh Centurions against a Hull KR side with one eye on their first Wembley appearance since 1986.

The Leigh Sports Village stage was all set for a titanic battle.

After Leigh had most of the early pressure it was KR who opened the scoring with a ninety-five metre Dane Chisholm try after he picked up a knock-on by Bob Beswick at the play-the-ball close to the KR line. Josh Mantellato kicked the two from wide.

On eighteen the home side were back level when Gareth Hock seemed to make an impossible offload on the KR line into the hands of Ryan Brierley to drop over the line to score. Martin Ridyard kicked the conversion.

On twenty-three the Centurions hit the front with super try from the boot of Brierley who broke for thirty metres and chipped over the top for Greg McNally to collect on the full and ground by the posts. Ridyard was again accurate with the boot for 12-6.

Within two minutes it was 18-6 when Leigh benefitted from a kick-off out on the full as they moved down field and off the back of the ruck Andrew Dixon jinked past the Robins defence to cross and give Ridyard a simple conversion. KR were struggling.

Seconds before the interval and Tom Armstrong used his strength to cross the line on his back and turn over and ground the ball. Ridyard kicked again from the touchline for a sensational 24-6 half time lead. Hull KR were a long way away from last weeks cup win over the Wolves, and in real danger of losing their 8s opener.

The half time roasting from Chris Chester worked its magic within three minutes of the re-start when Kieron Dixon went fifty metres down the right wing to improve the angle and give Mantellato a conversion for 24-12.

To steady any Leigh nerves, Ridyard kicked a penalty on fifty-three after interference at the play the ball and the lead was back to three tries.

On the hour, Maurice Blair struck for the visitors when he found a big gap in the tiring Leigh defence to go twenty metres to dive over. Mantellato kicked the goal, in off the upright, for 26-18.

When Tony Puletua scored with fourteen minutes left on the clock he set up a grandstand finish to the game as Mantellato added the conversion to get his side back to within two points of the home side at 26-24. Leading the second half by 18-2 it was the Robins who were in the box seat to snatch the two points.

After trailing for fifty minutes KR hit the front on seventy-two after a real scrummage on the Leigh line which resulted in Shaun Lunt being credited with the try. From next to the sticks Josh Mantellato kicked the two for a four point lead.

Three minutes from time and a clumsy period of play saw Ben Cockayne pick up a loose ball and break for the line, after the Leigh players were waiting for the officials whistle. Ben Thaler referred it upstairs and after some deliberation it was ruled 'TRY'. As Mantellato added the extras is was turning into the perfect second half for the visitors, as they became the first side to beat Leigh, in Leigh, for almost two years.

This was the archetypal 'game of two halves', a sensational Leigh first half, but an even better KR second half fightback. This win will have given some Leigh Super League dreamers a reality check and gives them a clear indication that a top four spot is the Qualifier 8s is not the foregone conclusion that they might have thought it was.

But for the Robins fan it was the perfect start to their Qualifiers campaign.

Centurions: McNally (T), Higson, Worthington, Armstrong (T), Kay, Ridyard (5G), Brierley (T), Moimoi, Beswick, Emmitt, Dixon (T), Goulden, Hock. Subs: Higham, Wilkes, Barlow, Hopkins.

KR: Dixon (T), Mantellato (5G), Welham, Sio, Cockayne (T), Chisholm (T), Blair (T), Walker, Lunt (T), Puletua (T), Larroyer, Horne, McCarthy. Subs: Tilse, Greenwood, Donaldson, Ollett.

Referee: Ben Thaler
Attendance: 3,500



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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 8th Aug 2015 5:02 PM | Views : 11887 | Replies : 21 | BACK TO STORIES
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This is an inplay table and live positions can change.
Mens Betfred Super League XXVIII ROUND : 1
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Wakefield 0 0 0 0 0
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