Super League: Leigh Centurions 12-22 St Helens - Saints extend winning start

Sione Mata'utia scores St Helens' first try against Leigh Centurions
St Helens have won their first five games of the Super League campaign, while Leigh have lost all five following their return to the top flight
Betfred Super League
Leigh (6) 12
Tries: Russell, Gelling Goals: Reynolds 2
St Helens (6) 22
Tries: Mata'tia, Coote, Welsby, Naiqama Goals: Coote 3

St Helens continued their 100% start to the new Super League campaign with victory at struggling Leigh Centurions.

Sione Mata'utia put Saints ahead and, after Theo Fages was sin-binned, the hosts hit back through Matty Russell to make it 6-6 at the break.

Saints crossed twice in quick succession through Lachlan Coote and Jack Welsby before Antony Gelling's interception score gave Leigh hope.

But Kevin Naiqama strolled over to put the game beyond the Centurions.

Leigh made it difficult for the table-toppers in the first half, disrupting their opponents' attacking flow.

But, despite being down to 12 men at the start of the second half with Fages shown yellow after persistent Saints offending, two scores in the space of four minutes tipped the balance of the game in favour of the visitors.

Jonny Lomax had a hand in both tries, which Coote converted to establish a 12-point lead.

Gelling picked off a Coote offload to race 70 metres and drag Leigh back within touching distance, yet Naiqama's try with 20 minutes left extinguished the hosts' hopes of a first win since their return to the top flight and keeps Saints at the summit.

St Helens, who had James Bentley stretchered off late on, will now turn their attentions to their Challenge Cup quarter-final against Huddersfield Giants on Friday, 7 May.

Leigh coach John Duffy:

"We have lost but I think we have turned the corner with our effort.

"We had a good chat about changing our mentality when things get tough.

"We really stayed in the game for large periods and we didn't lose our heads after half-breaks or tries.

"They did score two quick tries but we got back into the game. We were there for the full 80 minutes."

St Helens coach Kristian Woolf:

"I thought we were off tonight. We were ill-disciplined and our ball security was poor.

"We never got any real flow and when we did get opportunities we were disorganised attack-wise. Our heads weren't where they need to be to produce what we expect.

"What we did do was defend well.

"That's one positive, and if we can be as far off our standards as we were and still get a win, it's a really good sign for the group."

On Bentley's injury: "It is a lower leg injury.

"The indications are it might not be a good one but I don't want to speculate. He'll need X-rays and scans."

Leigh Centurions: Brierley, Russell, Thornley, Gelling, Sa'u, Wildie, Reynolds, Hellewell, McCarthy, Thompson, Flower, Peats, Mason.

Interchanges: Hood, Bell, Peteru, Gerrard.

St Helens: Coote, Naiqama, Welsby, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Mata'utia, Wingfield, Bentley, Walmsley, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

Interchanges: Amor, Paasi, Batchelor, Dodd.

Sin-bin: Fages (35).

Referee: M. Griffiths.

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