Murphy seeks fourth time lucky for rampant Leigh

Leigh 42 Hull KR 12
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The Independent Online

Leigh, three times beaten in the match that could have taken them into Super League, will try for a fourth time when they play Salford in the National League One Grand Final on Sunday.

With Alex Murphy, so often their talisman in the past, back at the club, Leigh completely dominated opponents who were expected to test them severely.

"We gave the players a bit more freedom and it was a great performance in the first half," said Murphy, who admitted that Leigh had finished with a list of casualties, with their player coach Tommy Martyn doubtful for the Grand Final with a knock to the leg.

"We ran out of bodies in the second half," Murphy said.

Leigh had the game won with five tries in the first half as Rovers' brittle defence belied their recent run of form. Paul Rowley, who played an important part in the first two, scored by Danny Halliwell and Leroy Rivett, is most unlikely to be allowed to play in the Grand Final by the League's disciplinary hearing at which he must appear tomorrow.

Neil Turley kicked three goals to put Leigh 14 points up, although Rovers came back to score their first points when Jon Aston released Paul Mansson for a try. Even then, they ruined their good work almost immediately, with Makali Aizue losing the ball in the tackle and Pat Weisner scoring from Turley's pass.

Adam Bristow and Halliwell then opened Rovers' vulnerable left side once more for Rivett's second and the substitute, David Bradbury, got over from Weisner's pass before half time, with Turley taking his goal tally to six.

Rovers had simply failed to turn up when it mattered, but Leigh's start to the second half was slowed down by the sin binning of Rivett. They still managed to go further ahead with two Turley penalties before Rovers claimed a second try through Paul Parker.

Alastair McClarron scored another for the visitors as Leigh's thoughts turned to their appointment at Widnes next weekend, but Damian Munro finished it off on a more fitting note by touching down from Rivett's break with Turley landing his ninth goal.

Rovers' coach, Steve Linnane, is one who believes that Leigh can do it at last.

"They are by far the best team we've played,'' he said. "They've destroyed us in 40 minutes twice and nobody else has done that.''

Leigh: Turley; Munro, Hadcroft, Halliwell, Rivett; Weisner, Martyn; Nickle, Rowley, Norman, Richardson, Bristow, Swann. Substitutes used: Bradbury, Sanderson, Holdstock, Bibey.

Hull KR: Stott; Farrell, Parker, Poucher, McClarron; Mansson, Tawhai; Wilson, Ellis, Bovill, Seibold, Aston, Busby. Substitutes used: Pinkney, Andrews, Aizure, Fletcher.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

* Keighley Cougars will meet Sheffield in Sunday's National League Grand Final after overcoming a subdued Chorley side 45-12 in a tense affair at Victoria Park. Gary Moorby's side deservedly led 19-6 at the interval and added second half tries from Andy Robinson, Richard Mervill and Paul Ashton (two). Chorley substitute Mike Briggs was shown a yellow card for punching and Mick Redford sent off for tripping.