Super League: Leigh 16-30 Wigan - Warriors rally to beat neighbours

Jake Bibby is now out on his own as Super League top try scorer with eight for the 2021 season
Jake Bibby is now out on his own as Super League top try scorer with eight for the 2021 season
Betfred Super League
Leigh (16) 16
Tries: Gelling, Mason, Ellis Goals: Reynolds 2
Wigan (16) 30
Tries: Bibby 2, Smith, Manfredi, French, Farrell Goals: Smith 3

Wigan were given a slight scare by Leigh for the second time this season before coming from behind to win and maintain their 100% record, and keep their promoted neighbours winless.

On a night when crowds were allowed back in the five Super League games being played, Wigan ran in six tries.

Jake Bibby crossed twice for Warriors along with Harry Smith, Dom Manfredi, Bevan French and Liam Farrell.

Wigan old boy Anthony Gelling, Nathan Mason and Jamie Ellis scored for Leigh.

Leigh led 18-0 at half-time when the two sides met on the opening day of the season.

They again got off to a great start, building a 10-0 lead with tries from Gelling, playing on the wing, and forward Mason.

Wigan roared back to lead with three tries in quick succession from Smith, Manfredi and French, before fit-again scrum-half Ellis marked his first Super League start of the season by crossing to tie it up again at 16-16.

But, with full-back French on top form, scoring one and making two other tries, Wigan stretched clear after the break with a try for Farrell and two for in-form converted winger Bibby.

As well as being a local derby, the game had added significance as it was one of the first rugby league fixtures to welcome fans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

But 1,600 Leigh supporters witnessed their side lose their seventh game in a row, in all competitions.

Gelling, who is currently facing a trial over a charge of grievous bodily harm, was included on the wing - and marked his appearance with the first try.

The former Wigan and Warrington centre pleaded not guilty to the charge prior to the start of the trial at Liverpool Crown Court on 12 May.

Leigh coach John Duffy:

"I don't want to talk about what's going on with Anthony Gelling, but what I will say is that he's a true professional. I know everyone sees him on social media but he's one of the most professional players I've seen.

"It was mad walking around the ground before the game to see people there. The lads were buzzing after the warm-up and it showed in our first half. We were outstanding. We stuck to the plan well. But then we were a bit ill-disciplined after half-time and got beaten by a great side.

"We have to keep plugging away. We have to compete for longer periods. We've got to be better at training and have that continue into games for us.

"We are working hard - I've seen a big change for us in that week off. But we need to be smarter, coming out after half-time and giving a penalty in our first set - you just can't do it at this level."

Wigan coach Adrian Lam:

"Physically, defensively we responded really well. The way we started was probably a little bit of a hangover from the Challenge Cup.

"It was a 10-day turnaround, there were a lot of errors and that part was of concern. But in the second half we held them to nil which is back to where we want to be.

"Whoever comes here, any Super League team for the rest of the year, it's going to be a real tough battle for them because the crowd gets right behind them," he said.

"It sounded like it was full at times. I can imagine them getting on a roll and it being a really tough day for teams. I'm glad we've come here and got the two points."

Leigh: Brierley; Gelling, Thornley, Sa'u, Tierney; Wildie, Reynolds, Ioane, Hood, Mason, Hellewell, Thompson, Bell.

Interchange: Peteru, Ellis, McCarthy, Peats.

Wigan: French; Manfredi, Isa, Bibby, Hardaker; Smith, Hastings; Singleton, Powell, Partington, Farrell, Bateman, Smithies.

Interchange: Byrne, Clark, Havard, Shorrocks.

Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL).

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