Sheffield Eagles 32
Leigh Centurions 34
SHEFFIELD Eagles boss Mark Aston hit out after two late penalty decisions condemned his team to their second straight defeat in the Championship.
“Again the merry whistleblower determined the outcome of the game and that shouldn’t happen,” he said.
But Aston was also ready to highlight the defensive failings of his team that played a big part in Leigh’s five tries
“We weren’t great defensively and let in soft tries on our right which is a concern,” he said. “When we were two points down we could still have won the game but we lost our composure.”
Leigh took an early lead with tries from loose forward James Taylor and winger Jonathan Pownall with Martyn Ridyard adding the goals.
Eagles determination to play attacking rugby was rewarded when from Simon Brown’s pass second rower Michael Knowes went over.
Eagles’ pressure paid off with Misi Taulapapa providing the pass for winger Nev Morrison to finish.
Brown kicked the goal before following up with a 40-20 kick and from the scrum the ball was put out to the left for Knowles to score his second try to put the Eagles ahead.
The advantage was brief as tries from Ryan Brierley and James Laithwaite with Ridyard’s goals made it 24-14 to Leigh at half-time. After the restart Eagles hit back with tries from winger Vinny Finigan and centre Misi Taulapapa with Brown kicking the goals. Yet again the lead disappeared as Sam Hopkins went in for Leigh.
Eagles went two points ahead with a burst of magic as full back Quentin Laulu-Togagae weaved his way past five tacklers. Brown added the goal.
On 68 minutes Leigh were awarded a penalty with Ridyard slotting over from 25 metres to level the scores. The Centurions went ahead three minutes later with a controversial penalty for ball stealing and Ridyard kicked his seventh goal - the kick that was to decide the game.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Finigan, Yere, Taulapapa, Morrison; Brown, Brambani; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Green, Hirst. Subs: Scott, Higgins, Straugheir, Hepworth
Tries: Knowles , 15,24, Morrison, 22, Finigan, 42, Taulapapa, 53, Laulu-Togagae, 63; goals: Brown 4/6.
Leigh tries: Taylor, 5, Pownall, 10, Brierley, 29, Laithwaite, 37, Hopkins, 58; goals: 7/7.
Referee: Jamie Leahy