Wigan stretched their unbeaten run at
Magic Weekend's to eight by beating Leeds at the big bash
for a fourth year in a row.
This clash was driven to climax the
first day of this year's event but the woes of the Rhinos
left the contest being a far cry from the tough battles
seen in the previous three years.
In fact it was a one geared walkover in
the end for Wigan and although Shaun Wane was disappointed
that we finished both halves poorly, and that was
disappointing, I genuinely think this was perhaps more down
to the fact Wigan were geared up to be battling the old
Leeds that won the treble last year and ended up being a
bit shocked by how easy this proved to be.
One respected Yorkshire based
commentator insisted to me last week that we'd "beat Leeds
by 30" and be able to "bully them easily". I was a bit
sceptical of that to be honest because I thought that Leeds
would finally choose to show up and have a good dig but he
proved to be spot on.
To be honest I took one look at them
sitting pre match to the right of where the radio
commentary boxes were situated at St James Park and thought
that they didn't look like they had "game faces" on for the
battle. It all seemed a bit too relaxed to me.
What gets me most about Leeds is that
they consistently start games well in the first ten minutes
but then just fall away so easily. They took the lead here
with a nice finish from Kallum Watkins, after poor tackle
attempt by Dan Sarginson mind you, and although the
conversion was missed, you'd think that would be a good
settler for them.
Wigan losing Sean O'Loughlin to a knee
injury wasn't helping our cause but I thought Ryan Sutton
came on at this point and beasted the vastly more
experienced Rhinos forwards like Keith Galloway and Adam
Cuthbertson. A great spell that saw Wigan take control.
Two tries came and both scored by Willie
Isa from work by George Williams. The first came off a pass
and the second from a grubber and I have to say Wigan's
kicking in general was excellent in this contest. Goal
Kicking also with Matty Smith converting those tries for
Rob Burrow absent for this game was a
huge loss for the Rhinos. I think he has been their only
spark this year and his absence at hooker was desperately
covered by Jamie Jones-Buchanan who offered nothing in that
It was looking ripe for Wigan to kick on
from here but they were perhaps lucky in the end to not be
pegged back to 12-10 by half time. Bad errors and poor
penalties conceded consistently gave the Rhinos chances but
although Danny McGuire went close with a knock on it was
seen off pretty easily in the end.
Then at the start of the second half,
two tries within five minutes finished this contest stone
dead. Two errors from Ash Handley were at the heart of it
with his first error being converted into a try for George
Williams and the second seeing him out leaped in the air by
Dom Manfredi. Smith converted the first try for a 22-4
Your hoping now that Wigan would use the
35 minutes remaining to work some moves into our stuttering
attack this season, especially after a close range try from
Ben Flower made it 28-4.
More woes for Leeds followed with Zak
Hardaker being sin binned for holding down but rather than
use the last man to their advantage, Wigan seemingly
switched off. Leeds had their best spell being a man down
and scored a try through Mitch Achurch for 28-8.
Then a try was chalked off under the
sticks which may have made things interesting at 28-14 but
that didn't happen and Wigan eventually extinguished Leeds
fainted of hopes.
It was looking like the game was fizzle
out like a soaking wet firework but at least they found two
late scores to had a resemblance of gloss to their efforts.
Tries from Oliver Gildart and Dan Sarginson were both
converted and at 40-8 it was a good job by Wigan.
Results elsewhere were pretty decent for
Wigan also but they will need to step up in class to beat
Castleford on Thursday you would think. They won't roll
over like this cack effort from the Rhinos.