Leeds staged a sensational
fightback to topple Super League leaders Wigan in a remarkable Roses
battle at a rain-soaked Headingley.
The Rhinos, inspired by magnificent
performances from Great Britain forward Adrian Morley and Kiwi Test centre
Richie Blackmore, came from 19-6 down to snatch a priceless victory in
The Yorkshiremen had edged 20-19 in front on 67 minutes and clinched
only their third home win of the season after Wigan had been reduced to 12
men with the sin-binning of skipper Andy Farrell for dissent three minutes
from the end.
Leeds had looked down and out after Wigan stormed into a 13-point lead
nine minutes into the second half.
But not even the intervention of a streaker - unceremoniously brought
to ground by a Jason Robinson tackle - could distract Leeds from their
Successive defeats by Hull and Bradford had piled the pressure on coach
Dean Lance but this victory will kick-start Leeds' season and keep alive
their hopes of play-off spot.
The Rhinos had failed to breach the Bradford tryline in their last game
and when Blackmore crashed over 32 minutes into the match it ended a
123-minute barren spell.
Skipper Iestyn Harris, playing in his 100th match for the club, added
the goal to bring his side right into contention at 8-6.
But lightning-fast winger Brett Dallas raced onto Willie Peters'
grubber kick to claim his 12th try of the season to put the visitors back
With Farrell calling the shots from stand-off, Wigan always looked
dangerous with the ball in hand and they defended superbly when Leeds
threw everything at their line.
The Warriors were forced to defend three successive sets of six tackles
at one point in the first half, with Leeds relying almost exclusively on
either the barging runs of Morley and Barrie McDermott or the shimmying
skills of stand-off Harris.
The Rhinos looked like drawing a blank until profiting from a rare
defensive error from the normally reliable Kris Radlinski, who lost the
ball in a two-man tackle 20 metres out from his own line.
Scrum-half Ryan Sheridan was held short after picking up the loose ball
but there was no stopping Blackmore when he tore past three attempted
tacklers to touch down for a vital score.
It was Radlinski who had earlier opened the scoring when he raced
through a gap from Farrell's pinpoint pass to grab an 17th-minute try.
Farrell kicked the conversion and added a 30th-minute penalty, while
Peters edged Wigan further ahead just before half-time with a neatly-taken
Wigan stretched their lead nine minutes into the second half with
another delightfully-worked try from Peters after Farrell had combined
with loose forward Denis Betts to get Steve Renouf on a run down the left
Farrell's third goal from four attempts made it 19-6 and Peters'
one-pointer began to assume considerable importance as the Rhinos hit back
with two tries in three minutes to open up the game.
Blackmore burst through for his second try following a crossfield run
from Harris, who added the touchline conversion, and then second-rower
David Barnhill supported a magnificent break by substitute Jamie Mathiou
to touch down.
Harris' third successful goal cut the deficit to just a point and he
gave his side the lead for the first time with a penalty after Wigan prop
Neil Cowie was caught offside at the play-the-ball.
Leeds were well on top by then and they secured victory two minutes
from the end when the 12-man Wigan defence failed to clear the danger
caused by Sheridan's grubber kick and full-back Francis Cummins pounced
for the try, to which Harris added his fifth goal.