The Rhinos were left stunned as Wigan ran in seven
tries in as emphatic a win a top-of-the-table clash has ever seen.
The Rhinos went into tonight's clash at the JJB fielding an extremely
youthful side and were made to pay early on by some vintage Warriors play.
In an onslaught of cherry and white, Wigan simply destroyed Leeds in a
first-half which saw the hosts rack up twenty unanswered points, and the
only surprise was that it wasn't more than 20-0 at the break.
After early Rhinos pressure which saw Francis Cummins bundled into touch,
it was all Wigan and after Andy Hay gave away a penalty for interference
it was 2-0. The Warriors never looked back as first Farrell scrambled over
after another Hay error, knocking on from a Warriors grubber-kick, and
then Renouf burst through under the sticks following a knock-on from Chev
Walker. Farrell converted to give the Warriors a 12-0 advantage. Leeds
simply could not get hold of the ball, and when they did, an error was not
long in coming, with youngster Jamie Jones-Buchanan the chief culprit.
After Jamie Mathiou gifted Farrell another 2
points for back-chatting to referee Smith, Jones-Buchanan was penalised
for obstruction in a rare Rhinos attack, his fourth infringement of a
nightmare first-half for the youngster, on the field for Barry McDermott
who was struggling with a virus. Wigan worked the penalty from right to
left allowing Radlinski to go over for a neat score, which with Farrell's
conversion gave the Warriors a seemingly unassailable 20-0 lead at the
break. To make matters worse for Leeds, inspirational centre Tonie Carroll
limped out injured after a collision with the advert hoardings and would
not reappear, going instead to hospital to have checks on concussion.
It was a much more determined Leeds outfit that emerged for the second
period but despite a solid opening, the Rhinos could do nothing to stop
Paul Johnson going over for a cracking score on 50 minutes. Lam did the
damage with an exquisite chip over the defence, Radlinski was first there
and he broke clear before allowing Johnson to take the plaudits in the
corner. The Rhinos again fought back though and deservedly got their
scoring off the mark when Danny Ward went over for his first for the club.
Harris the provider, his kick deflecting up off Terry Newton and into the
arms of Ward. The Leeds score served only to sting the Warriors back into
action however and Furner then went over before another classy move ended
in Renouf grabbing his second in the left corner. Farrell kicked a great
goal and Wigan were 38-6 up and flying to the top of the Super League
table. There was still time for Paul Johnson to get his name on the
scoresheet for a second time, Farrell catching out the Leeds line with a
delayed inside pass to Furner, who reversed the ball back to Johnson to
put the cherry on the Wigan cake. An emphatic Wigan performance against an
admittedly under-strength and under-experience Rhinos side, whose main
worries will be the injury to Tonie Carroll ahead of next weekend's
Challenge Cup semi-final. Dean Lance is already without super centre Keith
Senior for four to six weeks, and the absence of Carroll would be a