RYAN Brierley returned to haunt his former club as Leigh suffered the worst possible result to open their new Betfred Championship campaign, writes Trevor Baxter.

Brierley, one of 10 Toronto players with Centurions links, scored a try and kicked five goals as Toronto came from 12-0 down to record a first ever, second tier victory.

Another ex home favourite, Liam Kay, grabbed a hat-trick, completing his treble and Leigh’s embarrassment with an interception try in the final seconds.

Neil Jukes’ outclassed team didn’t score again after tries from Harrison Hansen and Matty Dawson-Jones, converted by Ben Reynolds, put them in command after only eight minutes.

The Leyther-dominated Canadian visitors even played a man short for 10 minutes after a first half sin binning for Adam Higson.

Cory Paterson and Adam Sidlow scored the Wolfpack’s other tries to make it a happy and satisfying return to Leigh Sports Village for Jukes’ predecessor, Paul Rowley.

“We massively let ourselves down,” admitted Jukes. “We expected a lot of their guys to try and play their best game which you always do against your former club. And that’s what they did.

“But we stopped playing after about 15 minutes and got caught up too much in the emotional stuff.

“We didn’t maintain the intensity and it became slow and scruffy which played into their hands.”

But it had all started so well as skipper Hansen touched down in the second minute.

“Team full of rejects,” sang the home crowd before Ben Reynolds converted to make it 6-0.

Dawson-Jones added try number two six minutes later, aided by Ben Crooks’ assist, and coming from the game’s first penalty.

Leigh didn’t know it at the time but that was as good as it got. Only strong defence from Bodene Thompson, holding up Quentin Laula-Togagae over the line, prevented Toronto’s first try.

Leigh were twice forced to drop out before the pressure told to drop at the end of the opening quarter.

Adam Sidlow, only recently introduced from the bench, crashed through some poor tackling for a 20th minute try. Brierley goaled to make it 12-6.

Instead of capitalising, the visitors lost momentum with Higson’s yellow card for a high shot on Nathan Mason. It provoked the first flare-up of the anticipated feud before order was restored.

Despite their one-man advantage Leigh conceded again as Toronto attacked at pace. Crooks fell off a tackle and the ball found its way to Kay to score at the corner.

Brierley missed his goal attempt from the touchline but Toronto were within two before Higson’s re-appearance.

The deficit became an advantage nine minutes after the re-start. Reynolds’ angled kick to the corner was plucked out of the air by Paterson who easily won a 70-metres foot race to the line.

Brierley goaled and Centurions trailed 16-10. They slipped further behind after 54 minutes as Joe Westerman, Josh McCrone and QLT linked up to send over Kay for his second try.

Brierley’s touchline conversion left Leigh needing three scores to regain the lead.

Three minutes later Centurions’ fate was sealed as Andy Ackers and Westerman opened up the home defence for Brierley to race 20 metres to touch down.

He celebrated by hurling the ball high into the North Stand before dragging his conversion attempt wide. Brierley added a penalty as Leigh’s afternoon went from bad to worse before Kay sped away before the hooter to claim Toronto’s sixth try.

Two years ago Leigh lost at Batley on the opening day of the season and won promotion to Super League. It was the only crumb of comfort to take from this unexpected humbling.

Match stats:

Leigh: Hall; Dawson-Jones, Crooks, Matautia, Owens; Reynolds, Hutchison; Vaivai, Hood, Acton, Hansen, B Thompson, J Thompson; substitutes: Mortimer, Patrick, Mason, Lovett.

Tries: Hansen (2), Dawson-Jones (8).

Goals: Reynolds 2/2.

Toronto Wolfpack: Laula-Togagae; Higson, Worthington, Rawsthorne, Kay; McCrone, Brierley; Emmitt, Beswick, Hopkins, Dixon, Paterson, Westerman; Ackers, Sidlow, Buchanan, Bussey.

Tries: Sidlow (20), Kay (31, 54, 80), Paterson (49), Brierley (57).

Goals: Brierley 5/7.

Referee: Liam Moore.

Half-time: 12-10.

Attendance: 5452.

Sin Bin: Higson (24), high tackle.