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2003 Match Preview: Leeds (H)
Wigan v Leeds Preview. Posted on Thursday, May 29 2003 @ 22:31:24 BST by Bilko
Wigan look to put down a marker for the rest of the season when Leeds visit the JJB on Friday Night.

 
Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos Tetley's Super League Round 12
Friday 30th May. Kick Off 8:00pm at JJB Stadium
Match Introduction
Are Leeds the real deal this year?

That's a question many people have been asking. For the last three years at least they've been just that little bit behind Bradford, St Helens and Wigan.

However a ten match unbeaten start to this season and a Challenge Cup Final appearance suggested they had found some consistency at last.

But they went and lost the Cup Final to rivals Bradford Bulls and repeated it last week losing 48-22 in Super League at Odsal.

Thats been Leeds problem during recent years. Good, but when the big games come round they flatter to deceive.

Friday's match against Wigan will give them an opportunity to prove they are top contenders this year and thats why it will be a difficult match for us.

They need to bounce back from the Odsal defeat with a win or their great start to the season will basically lie in ruins.

The Rhinos visit sees their former Warriors Gary Connolly and Dave Furner return to the JJB for the first time since leaving us in the off season.

On returning to us Furner said: "I've got no problems at all going back,"

"I've always enjoyed playing there and I'm looking forward to the return game. Our first game against them this year was a cracker and this next one will be the same.

"They are playing well, they're well controlled and big Andy Farrell's back. They've got a good structure there and they will be up for the game.

"They will be looking for two points as well and we've got to make sure we take them off them."

Wigan are obviously targeting Furner as a danger man because Andy Farrell has been placed in the second row for the match instead of twenty year old Danny Tickle who is dropped to the subs bench.

Nick Graham moves back to Loose Forward now that Sean O'Loughlin is available again at Stand Off.

Terry O'Connor has recovered from flu meaning we have the novelty of three fit props!

Also returning is Brett Dallas, who is rumoured to be off at the end of the season. His return is a boost especially with Brian Carney ruled out with flu.

Looking ahead to the contest Wigan Coach Stuart Raper said:

"Leeds will be upset at their performance against Bradford. The Bulls played very well and you can't take anything away from them but it is another game for us, we are making steady progression and improving our play. We have been going on quietly doing our job and getting the wins and that is what we have to keep doing. We know the intensity against Leeds will be a lot different from the one against Halifax but that game has been good preparation for us, to get the confidence of scoring tries and the guys feel fresh and ready for Friday night."

Raper mentions we'll be fresh but what about the Rhinos?

They've been looking more and more tired every match in recent weeks culminating in the heavy loss at Odsal. Will be interesting to see how they look this week.

I said earlier that this match an opportunity for Leeds to prove themselves, the same can be said for Wigan.

A good performance here would set a marker for the rest of the season nicely. Two points and second place would be a realistic target for us. Who would have thought that just over a month a go?

A loss however and it's back to the drawing board and we'll be looking behind us again rather than aiming for the top like we should be doing.

For me I fancy us to win with us being at home and having Farrell back. He can win a match for us all by himself and is a vital asset that could prove the difference. Put it this way if Farrell had played at Headingley a few weeks a go I doubt we'd have dropped a point there!

Opposition One to Watch

Keith Senior

27 year old Great Britain international centre Keith Senior is always a danger man for Leeds.

His combination of pace and power make him a threat from anywhere in the back division, be it the wing or from centre.

SQUAD NUMBER: 4
Team News
Wigan Leeds
Brett Dallas makes his long-awaited Wigan return as the Warriors' injury list finally starts to ease. The Australian winger has been out for seven games after pulling a hamstring against Hull last month. Sean O'Loughlin (sternum) and Terry O'Connor (flu) also return. Skipper Andy Farrell hopes for his 100th career try on his birthday. Leeds have Keith Senior available again after the centre missed the defeat at Bradford with flu. Chris Feather, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Richard Mathers are also added to the squad as Daryl Powell waits on a number of players with knocks. David Furner and Gary Connolly face Wigan at the JJB Stadium for the first time since leaving the club last year.
Team Sheets
Wigan Team
Shaun Briscoe, Brett Dallas, Paul Johnson, David Hodgson, Jamie Ainscough, Sean O'Loughlin, Adrian Lam, Terry O' Connor, Terry Newton, Danny Sculthorpe, Mick Cassidy, Andy Farrell (C), Nick Graham.
Subs: Ricky Bibey, Martin Aspinwall, Mark Smith, Danny Tickle
Leeds Team
TBC
Match Referee
Ian Smith (Oldham)
Pre Match Quotes
Wigan Leeds
"We know the intensity against Leeds will be a lot different from the one against Halifax but that game has been good preparation for us, to get the confidence of scoring tries and the guys feel fresh and ready for Friday night" Coach Stuart Raper
"Hopefully the game at Bradford will be the kick up the backside we need and Friday at Wigan will be the start of a new run. I don't think it's a test of character, but we've had our first defeat and it's important we bounce back strongly." Leeds Captain Kevin Sinfield.
Current League Positions
  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts Form
2 Leeds Rhinos 11 8 2 1 256 214 +42 18 L1
4 Wigan Warriors 11 6 1 4 268 234 +34 13 U4
Opposition Form (Last 6) - Leeds
Date Opposition Competition Result

Score

Match Report
23/05/03 Bradford (A) SL8 Round 11 Lost 22-48 Click Here
17/05/03 Hull FC (H) SL8 Round 10 Draw 10-10 Click Here
09/05/03 London (A) SL8 Round 9 Won 32-14 Click Here
06/05/03 Wigan (H) SL8 Round 8 Draw 24-24 Click Here
02/05/03 Wakefield (H) SL8 Round 7 Won 13-12 Click Here
26/04/03 Bradford (N) C.Cup Final Lost 20-22 Click Here

Wigan Form (Last 6 all comps most recent game first): WWWDLW

Super League 8 Stats
Top Try Scorers
Wigan:
David Hodgson & Jamie Ainscough 4
Leeds: Mark Calderwood 10

Top Goal Kickers
Wigan:
Danny Tickle 19
Leeds: Kevin Sinfield 31

Top Points Scorers
Wigan:
Danny Tickle 50
Leeds: Kevin Sinfield 66
Previous Super League Meetings in Wigan
Date

Result

Match Report

Att

9th Aug 1996 Wigan 68 Leeds 14 No Report

----

29th Aug 1997 Wigan 38 Leeds 4 Click Here

8438

21st Aug 1998 Wigan 8 Leeds 15 Click Here

12786

11th Oct 1998 Play Off Match
Wigan 17 Leeds 4
Click Here

12941

11th June 1999 Wigan 4 Leeds 13 Click Here

9588

18th Mar 2000 Wigan 20 Leeds 6 Click Here

11200

23rd Mar 2001 Wigan 42 Leeds 6 Click Here

12321

18th May 2002

Wigan 22 Leeds 28

Click Here

11864

20th Sept 2002

Wigan 26 Leeds 32

Click Here

8362

4th Oct 2002

Play Off Match
Wigan 41 Leeds 18

Click Here

13157

SL Record at JJB/Central Park: Wigan 6 Leeds 4
Overall Super League Record: Wigan 13 Leeds 7 (1 draw)

Matchday Weather

From bbci.

light showers Possible Light Showers but warm.
Wind: 7mph from the South.
Temps: Max: 22°C Low: 14°C

Ticket & Ground Details
North Stand (Visitors): Adults: £12.00 Under 18 yrs: £8.00 Senior Citizens: £8.00
West Stand: Adults: £16.00 No Concessions.
East Stand: Adults: £14.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £10
South Stand: Adults: £12.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £8.00
Click for JJB Stadium Ground Guide.
Media Coverage
TV: The match is live on Sky Sports 3 from 7:30pm with the usual commentary team of Eddie Hemmings, Mike Stephenson and Phil Clarke.
Radio: BBC GMR (95.1FM) will have full uninterrupted 80 minute commentary with Trevor Hunt from 8pm during Friday Night Sport.
Internet: There will be online commentary from the BBC @ www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/sportsextra from 7:45pm.
Opposition Views
Other Links
Rhinos Official Site
Rhinos Forum
Prediction
Wigan 28 Leeds 20
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