Wigan Warriors concluded their pre-season with a 12-6 defeat against local rivals Leigh Centurions at Leigh Sports Village.
The game started very slowly as both sides looked to gain an edge early on. Some early pressure from Leigh should have seen Cameron Scott go in on the right hand side but he knocked on with the line beckoning.
The main talking point of the half was when Joe Burgess took out Scott without the ball, leading to a melee involving most players from both sides.
A word from referee James Vella calmed tempers. Burgess was let off with a warning. He may have not been as lucky if the game had two points at stake.
In a much improved second half, Leigh hit the front early. A great run from Reynolds sent Alex Gerrard under the sticks with Reynolds adding the extras.
Leigh looked to have a much stronger bench and it showed in the second half as they were clearly the better side.
Then, out of the blue Wigan got back in it with good hands sending James Barran in at the corner on 66 minutes . A tremendous goal line conversion from Hankinson levelled it up and it was game on .
It was Leigh who would have the final say. Harry Rushton conceded a penalty, and after the tap Jordan Thompson crashed over just to the right of the sticks to make it 10-6. A routine conversion from Reynolds added the extras.
It was no more than the Centurions deserved as they were undoubtedly the better team second half.
A great break from James McDonnell was as close as Wigan got late on but the Centurions held out to win a hard fought derby in front of just over 2,000 spectators.
Referee James Vella kept control of the game and the penalty count was 10-9 in the home sides favour. It was his first game in England after arriving on exchange from Australia.
Leigh looked a much more organised side than the one that played Salford 12 days ago ,albeit against a Wigan side containing a few juniors.
The Centurions defended their line well , something they didn’t do at the AJ Bell , and they look ready for a real crack at promotion in what looks a tough league .
Jarrod Sammut saw much more of the ball but it was Captain Danny Addy that stood out. Matty Wade got the sponsors man of the match and he also looks like he’ll have a good season .
Leigh were without the influential Liam Hood, who had a slight knock. But the Leigh camp said later he would have played if there were league points at stake.
As for the Warriors , this was a good hit out. They played a mix of youth and experience and young Harry Smith stood out.
They look to have youngsters to call on when injuries and suspensions bite and Lam said afterwards he was happy how pre season had gone.
Joe Greenwood should have a good season and they’ll hope to keep Burgess and Manfredi fit and healthy as they look to close the gap on rivals St Helens .
Wigan start their Super League campaign at home to Warrington Wolves next Thursday , the Centurions play a day later at Dewsbury Rams in the Championship.