Warrington 32

Leigh 30

THERE'S no room to manoeuvre now if Leigh are to avoid an unwanted place in the Million Pounds game to decide the club’s playing future next season.

After finishing on the wrong end of an 11-try roller coaster at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Centurions must beat Halifax on Friday and London Broncos to stand any chance of automatic promotion.

They led last season’s Grand Final and Challenge Cup runners-up on four occasions including 18-10 and 30-24 with 14 minutes remaining.

Each time though Warrington fought back and sealed their place in Super League for 2018 with a late Harvey Livett penalty.

“With so much at stake to lose a close game is tough to take,” admitted head coach Neil Jukes.

“We worked hard but at moments we just let ourselves down or didn't grasp an opportunity.

“The manner of some of the tries were disappointing.

"We need to brush ourselves down and get ready and do some good things in these next two 80 minutes.

“We know what it’s like to be a Championship team; they have nothing to lose.”

And Broncos are scenting a late charge for the Million Pounds show down after opening their Middle 8’s win account over Halifax.

But if Centurions can eradicate the errors and replicate this attacking display then top flight status can be secured.

Cory Paterson stepped in to fill the gap at half back caused by injury to Daniel Mortimer and suspension for Ben Reynolds.

And Leigh were ahead in four minutes as James Clare scored for a second successive game with Josh Drinkwater landing the first of five goals.

Warrington were behind only four minutes as Matty Russell and Ben Westwood breached the visitors’ defence in quick succession with Declan Patton adding one conversion.

Liam Hood, restored to the side after defeat to Widnes, touched down in response and Drinkwater’s goal made it 10-12.

When Antoni Maria went over after 18 minutes and Drinkwater maintained his 100 percent success rate, Leigh held a two score lead.

By half-time though Warrington were back in front at 20-18 as Kurt Gidley, in his penultimate home game before retirement, and Kevin Brown crossed and Patton landed a second conversion.

The ‘we score, you score’ approached continued after the break as, after an initial Kevin Brown handling errors, Atelea Vea touched down and Drinkwater made it four from four.

Warrington weren’t finished and homeward bound Peta Hiku dived over after 54 minutes to remind home fans what they will be missing.

Patton’s inaccuracy off the tee prevented Leigh slipping further adrift. And it was Warrington who were behind when Lachlan Burr forced his way over for Drinkwater to put Centurions 30-24 in front.

With Leigh scenting victory old boy Chris Hill came up with a crucial try that Harvey Livett converted before the latter knocked over a penalty to deny Leigh the points.

Match stats


Ratchford; Russell, Hiku, Livett, Lineham; Patton, Brown; Hill, Gidley, Sims,Julien, Hughes, Westwood; substitutes: Westerman, Savelio, Dwyer, Cooper.

Tries: Russell (8), Westwood (13), Gidley (34), Brown (40), Hiku (57), Hill (65)

Goals: Patton (2), Livett (2)

Leigh: McNally, Clare, Brown, Langi, Dawson; Paterson, Drinkwater; Maria, Hood, Tickle, Vea, Burr, Stewart; substitutes: Pelissier, Richards, Hopkins, Harrison.

Tries: Clare (4), Hood (15), Maria (19), Vea (46), Burr (59).

Goals: Drinkwater (5).

Referee: Phil Bentham.

Half-time: 20-18.

Attendance: 9787.