Well what another classic Leeds v Wigan contest at
Headingley. A fantastic effort from both sides.
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!
It was a frenetic start to the match with both sides getting the
scoreboard ticking in the opening five minutes.
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
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
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.