Sheffield’s Super 8 hopes suffered a major blow after they were beaten for the third time this season by Championship rivals Leigh.
The Kingstone Press Championship League Leaders Shield winners hadn’t won a game in the end of season play-offs but they were far too strong for Sheffield, racing into a 24-10 half-time lead before adding five more tries after the restart.
Leigh scrum-half Ryan Brierley scored a hat-trick while his half-back partner Martyn Ridyard kicked eight goals from nine attempts.
The scores were level at 6-6 10 minutes before half-time after James Davey’s converted try had cancelled out a 12th-minute effort from Leigh hooker Micky Higham.
Sheffield’s try came while Leigh were down to 12 men following the sin-binning of Ridyard for obstruction.
But the home side scored three tries in five minutes to take a grip on the game with Brierley grabbing two and Andrew Dixon also going over. Four Ridyard conversions gave Leigh a 24-6 lead. Sheffield gave themselves hope with a well-taken Scott Turner try off Dominic Brambani’s crossfield kick moments before half-time.
Centurions continued to pile on the points after the restart with Liam Kay and Fuifui Moimoi scoring tries which Ridyard goaled before Sam Smeaton got an interception try on the hour mark which Pat Walker goaled to make it 36-16.
The visitors’ chances suffered another blow when Tony Tonks was sinbinned for a high tackle on Leigh winger Jonny Pownall 14 minutes from the end.
Leigh finished strongly with Brierley going the length of the pitch for an interception try. while Tommy Goulden and Gregg McNally also crossed for the home side.
Leigh Centurions: McNally, Pownall, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay, Ridyard, Brierley, Moimoi, Higham, Emmitt, Dixon, Goulden, Acton. Substitutes: Reynolds, Wilkes, Spencer, Aspinwall
Sheffield Eagles: Laulu-Togage, Turner, Yere, Smeaton, Worrincy, Brambani, Aston, Battye, Carlile, Tonks, Knowles, Straughier, Walker. Substitutes: Davey, Davies, Taulapapa, Scott
Referee: J Child (RFL).