Leigh Leopards are fighting with Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Catalans Dragons for top spot and the home semi-final that comes with a spot in the top two.
The Leopards’ chances of achieving that though were hurt when they came up short against Catalans.
It was a fiery game and the first half was defined by ill discipline from the Catalans Dragons with three late hits on John Asiata.
Two of them yielded yellow cards with England internationals Mike McMeeken and Michael McIlorum forced off the pitch.
The latter though could have been red carded as his also hit the Leigh loose-forward high.
The Leigh fans wanted a red card for the incident but Jack Smith explained why he wasn’t red carded.
He said: “There is the mitigating factor with him dipping but it is the third time so you’re off for 10 minutes.”
This was a crucial distinction as both times Catalans were down to 12 they conceded but when they had 13 they stormed to victory.
In terms of the game, a late hit from Mike McMeeken and a yellow card saw Leigh nail an early penalty to make it 2-0.
Then, after a Sam Tomkins blunder, an inside ball from John Asiata allowed Tom Amone to tear through and score. He rounded the cover defence for a great try.
Catalans Dragons definitely needed to score next and they came up with a response after Zak Hardaker gave away a penalty. Mitchell Pearce stabbed a kick behind and touched down himself to score.
The Dragons were now on top and stormed 12-8 ahead with a try from Paul Seguier. A great set play from the Dragons with attacking players doubling up on defenders allowing Seguier to carve through.
But then another yellow card for Catalans, this time to Michael McIlorum, paved the way for Leigh to score with Ben Nakubuwai burrowing over from the penalty allowing Ben Reynolds to nail a penalty and make it 14-12.
Then a mess at the back nearly led to a try for Wigan Warriors bound Adam Keighran after a ball bounced off a defender but he was unable to ground the loose ball.
But shortly after Catalans took the lead again when Hull KR bound Tyrone May kicked behind for Tom Davies to score.
May was in the mood in the second half as he dummied, bounced off Ben Reynolds and carved inside wrong footing Ben Nakubuwai who was missing his boot.
The match was settled with another try for the Leopards as Manu Ma’u grounded another kick.