KEANAN Brand scored a first half hat-trick as Leigh turned on the style in front of Featherstone head coach Brian McDermott with a nine-try, 52-0 win at Batley.

Rather than watch the televised action, McDermott was among the Rovers contingent inside Mount Pleasant to see Centurions move within one-point of the Championship leaders.

Batley-the only team to take a point off Rovers this season-were swept aside as Adrian Lam’s side chalked up a 10th league win from 11 games.

Leigh Journal:

If Macca hoped to catch a glimpse of Blake Ferguson then, like Centurions fans, they were disappointed; Lam opting to hold back his Australian winger for at least another game.

Leigh Journal:

Ferguson, did, however, get on the pitch as a water carrier, full of smiles as he interacted with his new team mates.

Leigh played with the advantage of the slope in the first half and nearly grabbed a fourth minute lead. Instead, Krisnan Inu-on the crash ball-fumbled as he dived for the line.

Inu did ground after 10 minutes but this time was pulled back for offside. Leigh made it third time lucky on the opposite flank after 16 minutes as swift ball transference saw Keanan Brand dive over. Inu’s touchline goal made it 6-0.

Brand showed his finishing skills again minutes later, accepting Caleb Aekins’ cut-out pass to stroll over. Inu curled in another stunning conversion.

Leigh Journal:

Centurions were on a roll and Aaron Smith burrowed over from dummy half after 24 minutes for another converted touchdown. Smith suffered a facial cut in the act of scoring and was replaced by Edwin Ipape.

Brand completed his first half treble eight minutes from the break courtesy of another flowing move and second Aekins assist.

Leigh Journal:

It was the perfect time to introduce Mark Ioane after his six-game injury lay-off.

Ipape’s last act before a blood bin reversal for Smith was to force his way over for Leigh’s fifth try of the opening period, goaled by Inu.

Batley were more competitive running down the slope but still struggled to mount any sustained pressure on the well-guarded Leigh line.

Leigh Journal:

The visitors regained their own attacking fluency after 56 minutes. Ipape and in particular Tom Amone’s break paved the way for Joe Mellor to join the try scorers.

Two minutes later Ben Reynolds managed to promote the ball off his boot laces and Joe Wardle accepted his opportunity. Inu’s sixth goal brought up 40 points.

A thoroughly professional performance was completed by tries from Inu and Ipape with Inu finishing with 20 points courtesy of two more goals.

Leigh Journal:

Batley: Hooley; Johnson, Hodson, Buchanan, Campbell; White, Gilmore; Gledhill, Kaye, Reilly, Manning, senior, Blake; substitutes: Whiteley, Ward, Brown, Meadows.

Leigh: Aekins; Brand, Chamberlain, Macdonald, Inu; Reynolds, Mellor; Sidlow, Smith, Amone, Wardle, Stone, Asiata; substitutes: Nakubuwai, Ioane, O’Donnell, Ipape.

Tries: Brand (16, 19, 32), Smith (24), Ipape (38, 74), Mellor (56), Wardle (63), Inu (70).

Goals: Inu 8/9.

Referee: Ben Thaler.

Half-time: 0-28.

Leigh Journal: