Warrington Wolves and Leigh Leopards did battle in front of nearly 7,000 fans on Saturday night to celebrate Joe Philbin’s testimonial as the two teams prepare for the new Super League season.
The game was disappointing for Sam Burgess and left Warrington fans concerned as the Wolves lost 28-12 to the Leopards.
Among the fans in attendance at the Halliwell Hones Jones Stadium was darts sensation Luke Littler.
A Warrington Wolves fan, Littler paid tribute to Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow and the rest of the MND community by including the MNDA on his shirt for the Premier League Darts.
He concluded his week with a trip to watch the Wolves but sadly they came up short.
Leigh Leopards record statement win over Super League rivals
Adrian Lam’s Leopards got their campaign off to a flying start with an impressive five-try win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
In the Leopards’ only warm up game ahead of the Betfred Super League opener against Huddersfield Giants at the Leopards Den on 16 February, Lam gave all but three of his 31-man squad a run out in a fluent and entertaining game to mark Joe Philbin’s testimonial.
The Culcheth based Wolves stalwart, closing in on 200 career games for the Wolves, thanked the near 7,000 crowd who attended on a chilly but dry Saturday evening who gave his testimonial fund a big boost.
Over 2,000 Leopards fans packed the away end, and they were delighted with what they saw.
Coach Lam played his first choice 13 (in squad number order) for the opening half hour and kept on Lachlan Lam and Australian international newcomer Matt Moylan for three-quarters of the game but otherwise rang the changes to give his players valuable game time.
Moylan capped a hugely impressive display with a second half try and the potential of his halfback partnership with PNG international Lam was there for all to see.
Ricky Leutele and Frankie Halton made welcome returns after long standing injuries while newcomers Owen Trout, Ben McNamara, Louis Brogan and Jack Darbyshire all made their Leopards bow.
Leopards started fluently with a typically clinical finish in the left corner by Josh Charnley and extended their lead when Zak Hardaker burst over on the right after captain John Asiata, Lam and Moylan were again heavily involved in the build-up.
Two Hardaker goals had the Leopards 12-0 up before the personnel changes began and the Wolves clawed their way into the game when big James Harrison forced his way over for a close range try.
Leopards’ fans got a close up of Moylan’s attacking prowess early in the second half as he combined with Lam to make a decisive contribution.
Umyla Hanley’s impressive close-range finish on the right and Moylan’s debut try on the left, from Lam’s short pass, had the Leopards 22-6 up.
Frank Sergent capped the Wolves’ best spell of the game with a right-wing finish to a fluent move and Leon Hayes’ left-footed conversion reduced the arrears to ten points.
But when Brad Dwyer became the Wolves’ second sin binning of the evening after Connor Wrench’s first half yellow- both for high tackles- the Leopards finished strongly.
Tom Nisbet capped a strong running second half display with the Leopards’ fifth try and McNamara’s angled conversion completed a highly satisfactory outing that whetted appetites for the season ahead.