Leigh Leopards stun world champions St Helens for famous win

Leigh Leopards welcomed world champions St Helens to the Leigh Sports Village and they were in celebration mood as they provided more pre-match entertainment.

T’Pau performed prior to the game and world champion darts player Michael Smith, who is a huge St Helens fan, appeared at half-time however the game was the true entertainment.

Leigh were fresh off a victory over Hull KR whilst St Helens were writhing following a last minute loss to Leeds Rhinos.

Joe Mellor returned for Leigh and replaced the suspended Ben Reynolds whilst for St Helens they saw the return of James Roby and Ignatius Paasi, however star man Alex Walmsley made way to the bench for Paasi.

Saints took the lead early as they took a penalty from under the sticks to make it 2-0 after just five minutes and Makinson was involved again on the 10 minute mark when they scored the first try of the night.

Lomax kicked to the corner and winger Makinson knocked it back which allowed Lomax to cross over, Makinson then completed his job by kicking the two extras.

Saints continued to dominate the early action and a second try was added in the 19th minute when young Jon Bennison crossed over, Makinson unable to convert as he hit the post.

Leigh did well to defend their line and then used that as encouragement, pushing onwards and taking some strong territory but ultimately to no avail.

The loudest cheer of the night came in the 32nd minute when Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook came on for his 450th career game but that was the last highlight of the first half, as the teams went in with St Helens 12-0 up.

The second-half started and St Helens were made to defend a lot, although they did so with great quality meaning a scoreless first 10 minutes of the second half.

That changed in the 57th minute mark when the in-form Josh Charnley scored, the ball being spread wide and a clever step back inside from the ex Wigan man saw Leigh record their first points of the night.

Unfortunately for them the conversion was missed and the game went through a heated period that culminated in a Matty Lees sin bin in the 65th minute for a swinging arm.

Leigh immediately took advantage of their man advantage, kicking to the opposite wing this time where Tom Briscoe was able to score but again the kick was missed, leaving Leigh 12-8 behind.

They weren’t behind for much longer though with Zak Hardaker crossing over in the 72nd minute on the back of a six-again. This time Hardaker was able to convert his own try meaning the Leopards took a shock lead 14-12.

That prompted Paul Wellens to make the changes and he traded the experience of Roby and Paasi for the more energetic Lussick and Walmlsey, Saints looking to avoid a second straight defeat.

It didn’t matter though as Leigh crossed over again to all but secure a huge and historic win over the world champions when loanee Joe Shorrocks capitalised on a kick and scored near the posts.

With Zak Hardaker’s conversion making it 20-12 it was incredible scenes at the Leigh Sports Village.

It was a huge win for Adrian Lam’s men and a second in succession, but also shockingly a second successive loss for St Helens.

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