Surprise package Leigh Centurions finally overcame their Super League counterparts in the Super 8s Qualifiers and secured top flight status for the first time since 2005.
The Centurions fought to the last man and managed to surprise all by bagging three Super League scalps that saw them finish in an automatic promotion place.
Although a revelation, the Centurions did have had much investment into the club and it has finally paid off.
Perhaps deserving of their place, having been reigning champions of the Kingston Press Championship for the previous three seasons.
But now, they face the big boys and a huge question is raised, can they compete and survive or will they be as much cannon fodder as they were back in 05?
Until then, we look back at their historic 2016 campaign, where their credentials were finally rewarded.
Most Memorable Result
Leigh had many to choose from as they heavily defeated the likes of London and Halifax during the season but the stand-out has to be their 48-40 defeat of Huddersfield Giants in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
An obvious selection given that this result all but confirmed their Super League spot in 2017 but the performance itself was arguably their best all season.
The Centurions ran into a 48-10 lead with 50 minutes played and looked set for a record giant-killing win only for Huddersfield to storm back afterwards.
An outcome that saw two lacklustre defensive displays on show that saw an apology from Huddersfield interim boss Rick Stone.
Something for Leigh to work on for when they enter Super League though they have added new faces already for depth and strength to combat any falters in defence.
Nevertheless, Leigh managed enough damage to see them into Super League, redeeming themselves for their anti-climactic flop last season.
Whether they will continue any momentum onwards remains unknown as no doubt, they’ll find life in Super League difficult once again.
Most Forgettable Result
A fairly obvious choice and despite their heavy defeat in the Qualifiers to Leeds, the stand out has to be their 24-22 away defeat against Batley Bulldogs.
This match shortly followed owner Derek Beaumont’s infamous statement of expecting Leigh for a trip to Wembley as well as a 100% winning run in the Championship season.
Batley instantly diminished this from occurring, as did Toulouse later on in the Challenge Cup.
Many may argue the case as Batley did manage one of their best ever seasons in the Championship, finishing third and attaining a place in the Qualifiers.
However, Leigh’s improved investment was the primary reason why not many would have seen this coming.
Credit where it’s due, Batley played well and deserved of their win under John Kear, but Leigh would prefer to write this one off completely as they enter Super League.
Successful or Under-achievers?
An obvious choice as Leigh were definitely successful in 2016, silencing the critics by securing promotion under the new Super 8s structure.
However, after being back-to-back champions in the Championship, it was expected once more for them to be dominant.
They obliged but couldn’t back this up with a Challenge Cup run, falling away to Toulouse before having a chance at battling Super League opposition.
Despite this, they should be happy nonetheless, especially as some off-field difficulty may have hindered the Centurions early on.
The departures of Head Coach Paul Rowley as well as halfback Ryan Brierley left holes that need filling immediately.
Neil Jukes took to the helm of interim boss and filled the hole remarkably well, steering them back on track.
The signing of Josh Drinkwater assisted with their success, forming a formidable halfback partnership with Martyn Ridyard to leave their opposition’s defences terrified.
Their forward pack was rather tough to handle, Cory Paterson and the now retired Reni Maitua being juggernauts in attack along with hard hitters Gareth Hock and Dayne Weston.
Yes, Leigh enjoyed a magnificent season and will hope for a better Super League stint than before and with signings such as Atelea Vea and Eloi Pelissier, they could be set for such a feat.
Until then, Leigh will continue to build for what could be a bright future and who knows, may prove unlikely rivals for neighbours Wigan Warriors in the near future.