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Match Report: Leeds 23 Wigan 16
Posted by Bilko on June 01 2008 - 15:56

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors. Carnegie Challenge Cup Quarter Final.
Saturday 31st May 2008. Kick Off 2:30pm at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Thoughts on the Match

Well what another classic Leeds v Wigan contest at Headingley. A fantastic effort from both sides.

But I just felt prior to the game that it was inevitable that Leeds would finally nick a close win and that's how it proved.

No doubt in my mind though - had Pat Richards had the 52nd minute obstruction no try given, we would have gone on to win. I think it was the right call though.

Having the lead going in the final ten minutes has often been crucial to some of Wigan's recent victories here and it proved vital in Leeds' favour this time. 2 points was all it was but they defended magnificently under great pressure.

So our Wembley dream is over for another year but you can't fault the effort in this defeat. I keep saying it though - it would be nice to get one of these big cup ties at the JJB!

Story of the Match

It was a frenetic start to the match with both sides getting the scoreboard ticking in the opening five minutes.

First Pat Richards kicked a penalty goal for Wigan before Matt Diskin scored the first try of the match. Maybe poor tackling on Wigan's part but three metres out Diskin went for the line, spun out the attempted tackles and scored under the sticks. Sinfield had a simple conversion - 6-2 to Leeds (6 Minutes)

It has to be said yet again Wigan started this game slowly. It's as if most teams against us are doing one lap of the athletics track whilst Wigan are pacing themselves for the Marathon! It might work sometimes but it is frustrating that we keep having to chase games early.

Scott Donald for example could have put Leeds further ahead in the 14th minute. Good bomb in the air was dealt with though by Darrell Goulding. Ref Richard Silverwood did pass to the video referee but Goulding just about beat Donald to stop the try.

After that it was a typical chess match between the sides. Richards kicked another penalty goal on 26 minutes before Leeds scored their second try.

A fifth tackle kick from Barrett was allowed to bounce but it fell kindly into the hands of Rob Burrow who raced away 70 metres for the score under the posts. Sinfield converted to make it 12-4 (29 Minutes).

With half time approaching Wigan finally stepped up a gear and put some great pressure on the Leeds line with great fifth tackle kicking forcing drop outs. The pressure finally told 2 minutes before the break. Thomas Leuluai put a huge bomb into the in goal area and Mark Calderwood beat Burrow and Donald in the air to touch down. Good conversion from Pat made it 12-10 to Leeds at half time.

I thought Calderwood scoring was a good sign. He has a habit of scoring back at his old Headingley stomping ground but sadly it wouldn't prove to be good omen.

Into the second half and Leeds came out strongly with them having twice had tries disallowed in the opening three minutes.

First a try was chalked off for offside, then Gareth Ellis went over, but with four Wigan men tackling him, he knocked on trying to ground the ball.

One of the aspects of the early second half period was Leeds getting penalties but refusing to take two and then not getting the reward of a try. You just felt Wigan were going to punish and oh so nearly they did.

52nd minute and it was Wigan's turn to get a try disallowed by Video Referee Ashley Klein. Mick Higham and Trent Barrett combined to send Pat Richards in for what would have been a great try but an obstruction call against Joel Tomkins saw it chalked off. Like I said earlier - correct call for me.

A score then for Wigan would have been massive but it would be Leeds who scored next. Matt Diskin sent Brent Webb over under the sticks and a simple conversion made it 18-10 (57 Minutes).

The Headingley crowd began to sense victory but all that changed ten minutes later. Getting another six tackles on half way, Richards began to surrender as if he hadn't realised it was six to go. That allowed him to make a good twenty metres and on the back of that, Higham found Carmont who sent Leuluai over for a great try. Pat converted and it was 18-16 with 14 minutes to go.

At this point Leeds still had a crucial 2 point lead but you could sense the nerves hit the Rhinos side and fans. They must have though, oh here we go another tight Wigan defeat on the way.

Wigan hit them with masses of pressure. 69th Minute Gareth Hock went close but was just short on the last. Then Liam Colbon was put away in the corner but an excellent tackle from Danny McGuire denied him. Time was ticking and with five minutes left came what proved to be our last chance. A bomb from Barrett saw a good leap from Harrison Hansen but Ryan Hall defused in goal. From that Leeds went up the over end and put Scott Donald over in the corner. Sinfield failed to convert so at 22-16 it was still game on - however Wigan knocked on attempting a short kick off.

The result was sealed with a last minute drop goal from Sinfield. An epic cup tie that would have been a deserved victory for either side. Wigan just need to keep up that intensity for the rest of the league campaign and set themselves at least a third placed finish come play off time.

Game Breaking Moment

Quite a few really but Liam Colbon being bundled into touch on 71 Minutes was perhaps the key moment.

Top Player

George Carmont - Fantastic pass to send Leuluai over.

Reaction to the Action

Brian Noble: "It would have been worthy of the final. On any other given day, I think we would have come away with the spoils. The effort was terrific from the players and sometimes the best team doesn't come away with the spoils. We just couldn't quite get to their half of the field enough times in the second half. We really tried to play. The boys had a huge dig but the bounce of the ball has gone Leeds' way today."

Leeds coach Brian McClennan: "It was one of those classic old-style games.The only thing that was missing was the mud. There were big plays by people on both teams. It was a great effort by every player who took the field today. There wasn't a lot in it. In the end we just managed to capitalise on our breaks. (Jamie Peacock) was outstanding. In the last five minutes he looked like he has fought in all the wars. He is bleeding from his elbow to his eye but he just kept taking it up. It was just a phenomenal effort from a great rugby league player."

Team Sheets

- Leeds Position Wigan -
1 Brent Webb Full Back Pat Richards 5
22 Ryan Hall Winger Mark Calderwood 2
12 Gareth Ellis Centre Darrell Goulding 3
4 Keith Senior Centre George Carmont 4
2 Scott Donald Winger Liam Colbon 14
6 Danny McGuire Stand Off Trent Barrett 6
7 Rob Burrow Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Kylie Leuluai Prop Andy Coley 15
9 Matt Diskin Hooker Mick Higham 9
16 Ryan Bailey Prop Paul Prescott 19
10 Jamie Peacock 2nd Row Gareth Hock 11
19 Carl Ablett 2nd Row Phil Bailey 12
13 Kevin Sinfield L.Forward Harrison Hansen 16
- - - - -
17 Nick Scruton Substitute Stuart Fielden 8
21 Jordan Tansey Substitute Iafeta Paleaaesina 10
24 Luke Burgess Substitute Mike McIlorum 17
28 Simon Worrall Substitute Joel Tomkins 22

Score Sheet

Leeds Rhinos 23 --- Wigan Warriors 16
Tries (4):
Matt Diskin
Rob Burrow
Brent Webb
Scott Donald
--- Tries (2):
Mark Calderwood
Thomas Leuluai
Goals:
Kevin Sinfield 3/4
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 4/4

Scoring and Incident Pattern

2nd Minute Leeds 00 Wigan 02 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (1/1)
5th Minute Leeds 04 Wigan 02 Try: Matt Diskin
- Leeds 06 Wigan 02 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (1/1)
14th Minute Leeds Video Ref No Try Scott Donald (Didn't Ground)
26th Minute Leeds 06 Wigan 04 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (2/2)
28th Minute Leeds 10 Wigan 04 Try: Rob Burrow
- Leeds 12 Wigan 04 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (2/2)
38th Minute Leeds 12 Wigan 08 Try: Mark Calderwood (Video Ref)
- Leeds 12 Wigan 10 Conversion: Pat Richards (3/3)
Half Time Leeds Rhinos 12 Wigan Warriors 10
42nd Minute Leeds Try Disallowed Try Scorer was Offside
47th Minute Leeds Video Ref No Try Gareth Ellis (Knocked On)
51st Minute Wigan Video Ref No Try Pat Richards (Obstruction)
57th Minute Leeds 16 Wigan 10 Try: Brent Webb
- Leeds 18 Wigan 10 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (3/3)
66th Minute Leeds 18 Wigan 14 Try: Thomas Leuluai
- Leeds 18 Wigan 16 Conversion: Pat Richards (4/4)
76th Minute Leeds 22 Wigan 16 Try: Scott Donald
- Leeds 22 Wigan 16 K.Sinfield Missed Conversion (3/4)
80th Minute Leeds 23 Wigan 16 Drop Goal: Kevin Sinfield
Full Time Leeds Rhinos 23 Wigan Warriors 16

Referee

Richard Silverwood

Video Referee

Ashley Klein

Penalties Conceded

Leeds 7 Wigan 11

Goal Line Drop Outs Forced

Leeds 2 Wigan 3

Match Attendance

10.129

Match Weather

Dry.

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