My pre match gut feeling was that goal kicking would catch up with
us in this one at Headingley but what the hell do I know. No one
could have predicted this. I mean Pat Richards, Paul Prescott, Lee
Mossop, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Stuart Fielden, Chris Tuson
and Ben Flower were all absent but it just wasn't noticeable as
Wigan shrugged off those absences and just ran riot over the
apparent Super League and World Champion Leeds Rhinos.
the interchange bench, that included Dom Crosby, Logan Tomkins and
debutant Rhodri Lloyd, was inexperienced, the truth was Wigan had
control of this contest before they made the field. They got off to
a blistering start with a 12-0 lead inside 7 minutes.
First try proved to be very fortunate. Jeff Lima barrelled over
from close range but replays showed he clearly knocked on. Yet not
a murmur of protest from Leeds probably summed up their whole
performance in this game. Presumably the lack of protest was why
James Child awarded the try. To be fair to him the knock on wasn't
spotted until a couple of replays had been shown by Sky. Charnley
converted anyway for 6-0.
Second try was all off the back of yet more class from Sam
Tomkins. Good arching run through Danny McGuire's straw clutching
tackle down the right and he passed inside to send the supporting
Liam Farrell over near the posts. Charnley converted again for
Wigan could of had a third try in the 11th Minute but Charnley
lost the football trying to complete a difficult touch down in the
corner. Wigan, harshly I felt, got a penalty after it was decided
that Brent Webb had dangerously dislodged the ball with his knee.
Leeds set competition was at a miserable 25% after a dozen
minutes but a poor penalty conceded by Sam Tomkins for lashing out
in possession allowed Leeds to get up field. A second penalty
conceded on the last tackle for a harsh high shot by O'Loughlin on
McGuire allowed him moments later to send Ryan Hall over in the
left corner. Sinfield missed his kick though - 12-4 lead to Wigan.
On 20 minutes Leeds threw on substitutes Rob Burrow, Weller
Hauraki and Ryan Bailey together at this point, for Shaun Lunt,
Chris Clarkson and Kylie Leuluai, but to be truthful they made very
little impact. Wigan in comparison bided their time with their
interchanges. Only change we made in response at this time was to
bring on Eric Lauaki at prop for "Henderson" Gil Dudson.
You really would have expected that the interchanges would have
started to see Leeds take control but it just didn't happen. Wigan
looked increasingly likely to go further ahead and Jack Hughes was
unlucky to be deemed a bugs dick short of the line when trying to
reach out to score.
In fact Leeds soon made their fourth interchange, with Richard
Moore being introduced in place of Jamie Peacock, but again no
impact what so ever. In fact Wigan soon full control of the game
with two quick tries in two minutes.
Wigan were piling on the pressure with a drop out and two
penalties in Leeds half before the dam finally broke. Simple try
when it came with O'Loughlin hitting the gap and running perfectly
onto Finch's short precision pass. Charnley converted again for
Straight from the restart came our fourth try and it was Sam
again showing his majestic fleet of foot. Aiming left his run saw
him glide through the defence from 60 metres out and he found the
supporting Carmont out wide to score in the corner. Charnley missed
this kick but at 22-4, the Leeds faithful had fallen silent.
It was only at this point that Wigan made their second
interchange as Dom Crosby entered for his second Wigan career
appearance in place of "the beast" Jeff Lima.
Wigan then went on to show their superb clinical prowess in the
minutes up to half time. Leeds had a good prolonged spell on our
line in the minutes up to the break but we soaked it all up then
for the second weekend in a row went up the other end and scored
right on the hooter. After another drop out was forced, Leuluai
crashed over with 10 seconds remaining for our fifth try of the
half. Charnley missed the conversion but Wigan still had an amazing
26-4 half time lead that left our faithful fans in dreamland!
Into the second half and this game always felt in the bag,
especially after Wigan claimed the first try of the half on 48
minutes. Classy try again with Sam Tomkins first of all making a
half break down the right. Although Leeds semi-recovered from that,
we soon broke again. Fuzzy Goulding this year has earned the praise
feature Sky's Boots 'n' All programme did on him last week and it
was his 11th assist of the season that got Charnley in the right
corner. Well it should of been in the right corner but extremely
lazy Leeds defence allowed him to run it right under the posts.
Clever play from wire wool head because it made his conversion for
The lazy defence summed up Leeds belief whilst Wigan had a
unexpected perfect situation to give 18 year old Welsh Men Rhodri
Lloyd his debut in place of Jack Hughes in the back row. He came on
at this point and did well.
The game went a bit scrappy though for a period with Wigan just
having total command. A few handling errors had been exchanged
before we managed to get down field, off the back of a penalty, to
claim our seventh try. Anthony Gelling claimed it in the right
corner after Carmont sent him in. Nice in joke there with Sam
Tomkins suggesting that they should video referee that simple
effort after Gelling's record for "no tries" in his career so far.
Charnley's conversion missed but 38-4 was now the score with 20
minutes to go. At this point Wigan benched Sean O'Loughlin and
introduced Logan Tomkins for the final quarter. He went in at
hooker with McIlorum tucking in at Loose Forward.
Rhinos claimed a consolation four minutes later after Gelling
knocked on in his own half. ROFL at Waney shown on Sky showing his
disgust at that despite the 38-4 lead but Leeds punished with Hall
claiming his second try out wide on the left again. Sinfield though
failed to convert and with them not scoring again in this contest
it meant he left the Headingley field having failed to score in a
match he played for the first time in a home game since they lost
21-4 to Harlequins in April 2009.
Wigan went on to claim two further tries in the last ten minutes
to become only the third side in history to put 50 points on Leeds
at Headingley. Sam again was class. he boosted out of dummy half on
half way, mugged the two Ryan's, Bailey and Hall, then sent the
supporting Leuluai over in the right corner for his second.
Charnley nailing an excellent touchline conversion made it 44-8.
The half century came with five minutes to go in comical fashion
with Finch plucking out a poor kick effort from Shaun Lunt to race
over from 20 metres. Lovely cherry on top of our big fat cake!
Charnley converted to complete the scoring at 50-8.
So a fantastic performance. Arguably the most dominating I've
ever seen us produce. Leeds were poor but a lot of that was just
the pure dominance of the under strength Wigan pack. The pace out
wide supplements it and it's going to be damn hard effort from
someone to stop us taking out the league leaders shield now. We go
three points clear after this with Warrington going to Hull KR then
facing Leeds at home before we kick off in France next Saturday.
Can they go ahead of us before we kick off in France? That'll be
interesting to see.