Leigh 58 Sheffield 18: Aston’s early red card scuppers any chance of Eagles’ surprise
A gritty, defiant performance followed but it was damage limitation as the Lancashire team scored 10 tries.
Scrum-half Aston, son of the club’s head coach, on his recall to the team was sent off for a reckless tackle on Gregg McNally.
The impact of playing with 12 men was instant as Gareth Hock found a gap and sent Greg Worthington over with Martin Ridyard adding the goal.
The Centurions backed that up with McNally finishing from Ryan Brierley’s pass. Sheffield battled to force a follow-up set but were hit by a sucker punch with a 90-metre interception try for Brierley.
The game could have run away from Sheffield but helped by penalties they steadied before a second interception by Brierley who sent in centre Adam Higson.
Eagles fans enjoyed a brief lift with centre Sam Smeaton picking up a loose ball to go 70 metres to the line.
Leigh hit back with winger Liam Kay going in. Ridyard couldn’t add his fifth conversion.
Eagles made a great start to the second half with Dave Petersen scooting over.
Leigh capitalised on errors as McNally completed his hat-trick with two tries in three minutes.
Kay claimed his second but Sheffield showed spirit with Duane Straugheir crossing and Kyle Briggs kicking his only goal.
A feisty encounter saw Hock and Misi Taulapapa sent to the sin bin after a clash. Kay completed his hat-trick with his 26th try of the season.
Centre Tom Armstrong crossed with Ridyard kicking his ninth goal but Sheffield ended a tough afternoon with Taulalapa claiming their fourth try.
Leigh: McNally; Higson, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Moimoi, Beswick, Emmitt, Dixon, Goulden, Hock. Substitutes: Higham, Hopkins, Spencer, Wilkes.
Sheffield: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Smeathon, Worrincy; Briggs, Aston; Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, Davies, Taulapapa. Substitutes: Petersen, Battye, Straugheir, Tonks.
Referee: M Woodhead (RFL).