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Match Report: Leeds 18 Wigan 14
Posted by cherryandwhite on March 18 2013 - 02:45

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors - Super League 18 Round 7.
Friday 15th March 2013
. Kick Off 8:00pm at Headingley Stadium.

Match Report

Funny game this one. I never felt Wigan ever did enough to win the match, but yet could have done with a bit of patience at times. On the flip side they could have lost by a heavier score line in truth.

I keep getting badgered on twitter for peddling this "young side" thing about Wigan at the moment but the facts are their to back it up. The average age of the Leeds team was 27.9 whilst the average age of the Wigan team was 23.5. Its a huge difference.

I've had comments in response like "we need to buy an experienced pack man" and stuff like that, but why panic? This is not the time of year to panic. I'd be worried if this side was getting blown off the park, but they've competed really well I think against experienced packs like Warrington, Huddersfield and Leeds. Ok maybe at times we struggled to make big yards in this match, but we completed sets reasonably well and showed a lot of good patience at times.

Particularly without Sam Tomkins though we did lack a spark and stats do not lie. Shaun Wane has now lost 8 games as Wigan coach, and included in that figure is a failure to win any of the five matches Sam Tomkins has been absent from.

Wane alluded to the fact his late withdrawal with a dead leg disrupted our preparation for this game. The fact Shaun lost his father in midweek clearly wouldn't have helped our preparation either and I offer my condolences to him and his family for that loss. 

In Sam's absence, Pat Richards started at Full Back for the first time since June 2010 and whilst he was solid in that position defensively, he provides little attacking threat from that position. We know how lethal he is on the wing, but in 42 starts at Full Back for Wigan, he's provided just 15 tries. Compared to 126 tries in 143 games out on the left wing for us, it's a hell of a drop and it wastes his talents.

Don't get me wrong, I think it was the right option to go with a dependable experienced full back against Kevin Sinfield's kicking game, but it left us with a Jack Hughes and Iain Thornley combination on one wing and they at the moment are not going to make Leeds sweat. In fairness I think those two did OK. Thornley scored a good try and you couldn't fault them much in defence, but as an attacking threat they provided little on this occasion to worry the opponents on a regular basis.

The main issues came on the opposite side in which Ryan Hall created much of the damage that took Leeds to victory. Some comments at me worrying about Josh Charnley out there, especially after a woeful defensive display against Castleford, but Ryan Hall is such a quality beast I'm prepared to give him the benefit of doubt for his display in this one.

Overall Waney suggested a few Wigan players had knocks. Pat didn't goal kick which suggested he wasn't fully fit whilst Darrell Goulding was back from this mysterious "illness" that the club have seemingly been very coy in discussing, so who knows if he was fully ready to return. In summarisation, it wasn't the best night I suppose for Sam to be missing.

Into the match itself and the deadlock was broken after 9 minutes. Goulding was lethargic in defending the marker position and Danny McGuire beat him with a dummy, fed Ryan Hall and he did well to beat Charnley and Pat to finish. Kevin Sinfield converted for 6-0.

Now the minutes following that is were I thought Wigan did particularly well. Leeds threatened to go on and do more damage to Wigan and it was already looking, even this early, like any two score lead would win this match. So I felt we did well to hang in for a good period and for us to come out of it with a try was a great bonus. I felt the game turned when the vastly experienced prop partnership of Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai had been broken up with Leuluai being interchanged for Richard Moore.

Not long after he had gone, Wigan were level with Ginger Farrell continuing his excellent season so far with a fourth try in seven appearances. Classy pass back on the inside from Blake Green to send him through a gap and Faz easily shrugged off a very poor tackle attempt by Full Back Kallum Watkins. Questions of a knock on against Mike McIlorum at the play the ball saw the decision go to the video referee but his fingers never left the football and "TRY" was correctly given. Matty Smith was kicking instead of Pat and made it 6-6 after 17 minutes.

Not much followed immediately after that until Wigan took the lead with a penalty goal on 29 minutes from Smith. In the ten minutes before half time, Wigan had a chance with a drop out that came to nothing, whilst Leeds went close with Hall but Chris Tuson and Charnley did well to hold him up.

Into the second half and Leeds regained the lead after 4 minutes. Sinfield put a bomb up towards Ryan Hall and he forced Charnley into an error, which saw Joel Moon pounce on the loose ball for the try. Sinfield converted for 12-8.

Again, I think Wigan did well to hang in the match for a while following that. It still felt like a two score lead for anyone would always be enough, so it was important for us to let the game get away.

It was the next facet of play that will leave Wigan with regrets on the night. 55th Minute and Wigan had just stopped a huge Leeds break down the left with Charnley doing well to scramble back in defence to deny Rob Burrow. The home side were feeling sorry for themselves and Wigan caught them cold with a counter attack down the right hand side. Thornley got away from 80 metres out and had support from who else but Farrell. Watkins managed to tackle him 10 metres short and a quick play the ball would surely had seen Wigan score with defence scrambling, but Farrell knocked on! Arguably Watkins knocked the ball out but for me Farrell needs to learn from that.

Within a minute, Wigan had conceded a penalty and Jamie Jones-Buchanan had scored under the posts with Mike McIlorum and Blake Green guilty of poor defence up the middle. Sinfield converted for 18-8 when it could so easily had been 14-12 to us.

That two score lead did very well prove enough but Wigan at least made them sweat for the full 80. Peacock being penalised for incorrect play the ball after the restart helped, but Wigan were clinical in punishing and Farrell sent Thornley over in the right corner. Excellent touchline conversion from Smith made it 18-14.

But despite 17 minutes still remaining, the game just seemed to die away for me. Wigan never gave themselves the opportunity to put sustained pressure on the Leeds line and at times their own lack of composure contributed to that. That's were the lack of experience shows for us, it was same at Huddersfield.

Our best chance actually came with 30 seconds to go. Bomb went up from Smith towards Charnley on the wing but despite him winning the leap, he couldn't take the ball cleanly and although Tuson touched down for what could have been a match winning try in consecutive away games, it was a clear knock on.

So Leeds win 18-14 but I'm not too disheartened for Wigan. We will need to improve whilst this season wears on to have any chance of trophy success, that is for sure, but like I said at the start of this report, March is not the time to panic. That said, Easter could be quite a telling period for our side, so let's see how we fair in the next four matches.

Reaction to the Action

Shaun Wane: "I lost my dad on Wednesday, which is sad. I needed a distraction and wanted to get back in work as soon as I could. It was a poor finish to the week. I was proud of our effort but individual errors cost us. Leeds are a great team and you can't turn up here with ordinary errors like we did. The changes affected us. It was a late change with Sam and a few people played busted. I still believe we had a team that could come here and win but you have to commend Leeds. They can grind out wins, they've done it to us so many times. They were better than us in major parts of the game. We were not consistent in our attack. At times we lacked a bit of composure but we'll bounce back."

Leeds coach Brian McDermott: "We weren't great last week but tonight we showed a lot of resilience and a lot of grit to get the game. I didn't think we were great with the ball, although we had two clear-cut chances for tries and bombed them. We've a smile on our faces but it was a frustrating win. Defensively I thought we were strong and credit goes to Wigan, too. It was a tight game, I thought both teams defended each other out of the game. I've got to mention Brett Delaney for the way puts himself about. If we could put 13 Brett Delaneys on the field, we wouldn't lose many games because he runs his blood to water."

Team Sheets

- Leeds Position Wigan 1
3 Kallum Watkins Full Back Pat Richards 5
25 Joe Vickery Winger Josh Charnley 2
12 Carl Ablett Centre Darrell Goulding 3
4 Joel Moon Centre Jack Hughes 4
5 Ryan Hall Winger Iain Thornley 17
13 Kevin Sinfield Stand Off Blake Green 6
6 Danny McGuire Scrum Half Matty Smith 7
8 Kylie Leuluai Prop Dom Crosby 26
7 Rob Burrow Hooker Mike McIlorum 9
10 Jamie Peacock Prop Ben Flower 15
11 Jamie
2nd Row Chris Tuson 16
15 Brett Delaney 2nd Row Liam Farrell 12
16 Ryan Bailey L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
14 Stevie Ward Substitute Gil Dudson 20
18 Chris Clarkson Substitute Scott Taylor 21
19 Mitch Achurch Substitute Logan Tomkins 23
21 Richard Moore Substitute Greg Burke 29
- Brian McDermott Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

Leeds Rhinos 18 --- Wigan Warriors 14
Tries (3):
Ryan Hall
Joel Moon
Jamie Jones-Buchanan
--- Tries (2):
Liam Farrell
Iain Thornley
Kevin Sinfield 3/3
--- Goals:
Matty Smith 3/3

Scoring and Incident Pattern

09mins:26 Leeds 04 Wigan 00 Try: Ryan Hall
- Leeds 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (1/1)
17mins:45 Leeds 06 Wigan 04 Try: Liam Farrell
- Leeds 06 Wigan 06 Conversion: Matty Smith (1/1)
29mins:11 Leeds 06 Wigan 08 Penalty Goal: Matty Smith (2/2)
Half Time Leeds Rhinos 06 Wigan Warriors 08
43mins:59 Leeds 10 Wigan 08 Try: Joel Moon
- Leeds 12 Wigan 08 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (2/2)
57mins:48 Leeds 16 Wigan 08 Try: Jamie Jones-Buchanan
- Leeds 18 Wigan 08 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (3/3)
61mins:02 Leeds 18 Wigan 12 Try: Iain Thornley
- Leeds 18 Wigan 14 Conversion: Matty Smith (3/3)
Full Time Leeds Rhinos 18 Wigan Warriors 14

Video Highlights


Richard Silverwood

Key Stats

Clean Breaks: lll Leeds 5 lll Wigan 6
Offloads:   Leeds 13   Wigan 7
Penalties Conceded:   Leeds 4   Wigan 5
Errors:   Leeds 15   Wigan 11
Set Completion:   Leeds 61%   Wigan 74%

Match Attendance




League Table at Conclusion of Super League 18 - Round 7

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Huddersfield Giants 7 6 0 1 188 97 +91 12
2 Wigan Warriors 7 4 1 2 197 97 +100 9
3 Bradford Bulls 7 4 1 2 199 134 +65 9
4 Warrington Wolves 7 4 1 2 173 119 +54 9
5 St Helens 7 4 1 2 164 124 +40 9
6 Catalan Dragons 7 4 1 2 180 145 +35 9
7 Leeds Rhinos 6 4 0 2 136 92 +44 8
8 Hull Kingston Rovers 7 3 0 4 202 192 +20 6
9 Hull FC 7 2 1 4 144 154 -10 5
10 Wakefield Wildcats 7 2 1 4 149 182 -33 5
11 Widnes Vikings 6 2 1 3 122 158 -36 5
12 London Broncos 7 2 0 5 124 196 -72 4
13 Castleford Tigers 7 1 1 5 101 213 -112 3
14 Salford City Reds 7 1 1 5 89 265 -176 3

Top Eight Qualify for the Play Offs

Round 7 Results
Fri 15 Mar Leeds Rhinos 18 Wigan Warriors 14 15,524
Fri 15 Mar St Helens 52 Wakefield Wildcats 18 11,211
Fri 15 Mar Salford City Reds 4 Warrington Wolves 46 3,932
Sat 16 Mar Catalan Dragons 46 Widnes Vikings 14 7,357
Sat 16 Mar Huddersfield Giants 24 Hull FC 10 5,536
Sun 17 Mar Bradford Bulls 34 Hull Kingston Rovers 12 7,843
Sun 17 Mar Castleford Tigers 12 London Broncos 26 4,521

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