After falling at this stage of the play offs in the previous two
seasons, Wigan made no mistake this time with an excellent display
to see off Champions Leeds.
To be honest, apart from the spell
ten minutes after half time, it never looked in doubt. The only
moan really was that we bombed a couple of chances first half that
could have put us in a commanding lead before half time.
Leeds couldn't be faulted for effort but they looked tired from
really early on and this left them struggling to find rhythm in
attack. Wigan hustled them on every last tackle and that took away
one of Leeds major weapons.
It was the visitors who had the first burst and they were
unlucky not to score in the right corner, but Ben Jones-Bishop
clearly knocked on.
Wigan then took the lead on one of their first attacks. Penalty
helped them down field and going left Pat Richards passed back
inside to get Iain Thornley over. Pat then converted for 6-0 after
just 6 minutes.
Amazingly that was the only score of the first half. Defences
were well on top but Wigan were left ruing two big missed
opportunities. One break saw Liam Farrell fail to find support
whilst another on 36 minutes saw Pat Richards race away down the
left. He was tackled 30 metres short but Wigan had a massive
overlap towards the right, yet inexplicably Sam Tomkins stepped
back towards the left. Unusually dumb play by him.
I think Leeds would have been quite content with the half time
score of 6-0, especially when they levelled the score just 5
minutes after the restart. Great try. Carl Ablett with the break
and great support play by Joel Moon, easy conversion by Sinfield
made it 6-6.
Things looked ominous for Wigan at this point with a couple of
big breaks by the Rhinos early second half but I think the return
of both Scott Taylor and Ben Flower off the bench swung the contest
back Wigan's way.
Two tries on 52 and 57 minutes took this game away from Leeds
pretty quickly with both scores coming off their own errors. First
the Blake Green and Liam Farrell combination, that was seen so
often in the first half of the season, finally returned to see
Ginger claim his first league match try since 3rd May against
Then a grubber from Smith kindly deflected into the hands of
Darrell Goulding for a simple try - two extras from Richards making
In the final quarter Leeds only hope was coming from Rob Burrow
and he tried his best on two occasions to create tries. One such
move saw Joel Moon looking all the world a scorer in the left
corner until Harrison Hansen forced an error a metre from the line.
Very similar to Josh Charnley's effort on Jamie Shaul in the Cup
That was a massive moment because the Rhinos needed a
score. The clock was ticking away and Wigan managed to ice the
outcome with Matty Smith and Goulding combining to send Charnley
over with 8 minutes to go.
Leeds did get the last score of the game through Liam
Sutcliffe but although they kept believing they could come back, it
was never really on.
On the night of Pat Richards, Sam Tomkins and Lee
Mossop's last appearances for Wigan at the DW Stadium, the night
always seemed destined to end in victory. Wigan now just 80 minutes
away from a league and cup double! Who'd have thought that six
weeks ago as we endured, with much forlorn, the pre Wembley
performance out in France!