Kieron Purtill ended one of the toughest weeks of his career with a smile and a tear as Leigh side-lined their off field problems with an emphatic comeback victory.

After watching Centurions score 34 unanswered points, including a hat-trick from winger Ilias Bergal, Purtill urged his new look squad to round the season off in the best style possible.

It’s the Championship Shield rather than the Middle 8’s for the pre-season Betfred Championship favourites.

But Purtill said: “It’s a new group and we had an opportunity to in this game to put down a marker how this group is going to be going forward.

“We are disappointed where we have finished. But we are in a competition to win a trophy and that’s what we want to do for the fans.

“It’s been a tough week personally. We worked hard for weeks and to see that group taken apart is very sad.

“I have some good friends who have left and good players who gave a lot for this club.

“But we have a strong club and a fantastic fan base which was shown out there. “The reception at the end was first class and almost brought a tear to my eye.

“This club has been to bad places before and come back better and stronger and I am sure it will again.”

However, it took nearly 40 minutes to find a performance that wasn’t in keeping with the depressing events of the previous six days Eagles took an 18th minute lead when second row James Bentley crashed over. The visitors’ second try was more inventive, started and finished by Cory Aston after 34 minutes and including Menzie Yere’s classy offload.

With half-time approaching Leigh, handing debuts to Hull KR loanees, Will Dagger and Jordan Walne, finally clicked and Ricky Bailey maintained his good try scoring form to make it 10-4 at the break.

Leigh were better, though it was hard not to be, after the interval. Decisive running from Dagger plus Matty Dawson-Jones’s assist created space for Bergal to score his first try.

Jack Owens missed the conversion but was on target after Dawson-Jones leapt brilliantly to take Reynolds’ ‘bomb’ from Ben Blackmore’s clutches as Leigh led for the first time. Bergal crossed again just before the hour after more slick passing and Dawson-Jones’s final pass.

Leigh’s fifth try was a carbon copy of their fourth with Bergal completing his hat-trick and Owens’ second goal putting Leigh 24-10 in front. Full-back Dagger grabbed try number six before man of the match, Dawson-Jones rounded off the scoring.

*Harrison Hansen scored a try on debut for Widnes Vikings but Super League’s bottom club lost 52-24 to Castleford Tigers for whom his former Leigh team mate, Peter Mata’utia, also made a first appearance.

*Hansen’s role as Leigh skipper has gone to Micky Higham with Liam Hood, missing the Sheffield game through injury, confirmed as vice-captain.

Match stats: Leigh: Dagger; Ricky Bailey, Owens, Dawson-Jones, Bergal; Reynolds, Hutchison; A Walne, Higham, Ryan Bailey, Larroyer, Gregson, J Walne; substitutes: Mortimer, Mason, Richards, Blagborough.

Tries: Ricky Bailey (39), Bergal (49, 59, 65), Dawson-Jones (51, 75), Dagger (71) Goals: Reynolds 0/1, Owens 3/6 Sheffield Eagles: Thomas; Macani, Yere, Toole, Blackmore; Aston, Makelim; Offerdahl, Fozard, Pick, Bentley, Weldon, James; substitutes: Burns, Garcia, Davies, Magrin.

Tries: Bentley (18), Aston (34) Goals: Thomas 1/2 Referee: Chris Kendall Half-time: 4-10 Attendance: 3,112