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Play Off Match: Leeds 18 Wigan 14
Posted by Bilko on October 05 2008 - 23:00

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors - Engage Super League XIII Play Off..
Friday 26th September 2008. Kick Off 8:00pm at Headingley.

Match Report from Sportinglife.com

Leeds demonstrated all their champion qualities to see off the brave challenge of Wigan and set up a repeat of last year's Super League Grand Final against St Helens at Old Trafford next Saturday.

The Rhinos bounced back in style from their crushing defeat by Saints a week earlier to secure a fifth trip to Old Trafford with a well-earned victory in a tense and dramatic final eliminator at Headingley.

The Rhinos edged an enthralling first half, with winger Lee Smith scoring the only try, but the Warriors - who arrived less than an hour before kick-off due to motorway congestion - were well in the hunt until centre Keith Senior grabbed the all-important match-clincher on the hour.

The champions dominated much of the match but were continually thwarted by former winger Mark Calderwood, who pulled off four try-saving tackles to keep the Warriors' hopes alive on his final appearance for them.

But there was no denying the superiority of Brian McClennan's men, who had brilliant performers in second row pair Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Ali Lauitiiti.

It was physical, at times brutal, but entirely compelling, with two players sin-binned and two others placed on report for alleged foul play in a frenetic match.

Wigan battled to the end and were rewarded with a late tries by Harrison Hansen and Iafeta Paleaaesina but the final whistle signalled the end of the road for acting captain Trent Barrett, who will return home to Australia next month without a Grand Final appearance, while Calderwood, Liam Colbon and Mickey Higham also brought their Warriors' career to an end.

There was a hint of things to come on 10 minutes when Smith was put on report for apparently kicking Wigan second rower Phil Bailey in the face.

Whether that was accidental or deliberate will be determined on Monday by the League's match review panel, who will also be interested in examining a free-for-all involving around half the 26 players.

It stemmed from a superb tackle by Calderwood, who tracked back 70 metres to halt Jones-Buchanan, but then conceded a penalty by diving on the ball from an offside position.

Calderwood was shown the yellow card for his offence while Leeds centre Keith Senior joined him in the sin bin for his part in the fracas.

Kevin Sinfield kicked the resultant penalty to put his side ahead but Richards cancelled it out on 30 minutes after Gareth Ellis had been pulled up for an off-the-ball challenge on Wigan danger man Barrett.

The stalemate was finally broken six minutes before the break when Matt Diskin combined with Sinfield to get stand-off Danny McGuire racing into half a gap and Smith brought down his high pass with aplomb to touch down.

The drama continued in the second half with that man Calderwood again in the thick of the action.

First the former Leeds favourite pulled off another fine tackle to stop Senior and then managed to get his body underneath Lauitiiti to prevent the Rhinos substitute grounding the ball.

And, when Leeds pressed again, Lauitiiti found Jones-Buchanan in space after re-gathering McGuire's high kick and looked all set to score until Calderwood bundled him into the corner flag.

It was all Leeds in the third quarter and Wigan were grateful next to George Carmont for a trysaving tackle on McGuire while Calderwood came to the rescue again to stop Rob Burrow in full flight for the line.

The pressure looked to have finally told on the Wigan line when inspirational forward Jamie Peacock proved unstoppable from 10 metres out but, after spending five minutes examining slow-motion replays, video referee Ian Smith decided the ball was not grounded.

The jeers of the home fans among the 13,212 crowd quickly turned to cheers, however, when Lauitiiti was again involved down the left-hand side and Senior took winger Scott Donald's inside pass to touch down.

Sinfield landed the touchline conversion and added a second penalty to give his side some breathing space at 14-2.

Wigan's late rally brought short-range tries for Hansen and Paleaaesina, both converted by Richards, but Smith pounced on a handling error to score an opportunist try and keep the Rhinos just in front.

Team Sheets

- Leeds Position Wigan -
1 Brent Webb Full Back Richard Mathers 1
5 Lee Smith Winger Mark Calderwood 2
19 Carl Ablett Centre Cameron Phelps 21
4 Keith Senior Centre George Carmont 4
2 Scott Donald Winger Pat Richards 5
6 Danny McGuire Stand Off Trent Barrett 6
7 Rob Burrow Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Kylie Leuluai Prop Stuart Fielden 8
9 Matt Diskin Hooker Mick Higham 9
10 Jamie Peacock Prop Andy Coley 15
11 J.Jones-Buchanan 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 16
12 Gareth Ellis 2nd Row Phil Bailey 12
13 Kevin Sinfield L.Forward Joel Tomkins 22
- - - - -
14 Ali Lauitiiti Substitute Iafeta Paleaaesina 10
16 Ryan Bailey Substitute Gareth Hock 11
17 Nick Scruton Substitute LIam Colbon 14
18 Ian Kirke Substitute Tim Smith 32

Score Sheet

Leeds Rhinos 18 --- Wigan Warriors 14
Tries (3):
Lee Smith 2
Keith Senior
--- Tries (2):
Harrison Hansen
Iafeta Paleaaesina
Goals:
Kevin Sinfield 3/5
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 3/3

Scoring and Incident Pattern

20th Minute Leeds 02 Wigan 00 Penalty Goal: Kevin Sinfield (1/1)
29th Minute Leeds 02 Wigan 02 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (1/1)
35th Minute Leeds 06 Wigan 02 Try: Lee Smith
- Leeds 06 Wigan 02 K.Sinfield Missed Conversion (1/2)
Half Time Leeds Rhinos 06 Wigan Warriors 02
43rd Minute Leeds Video Ref No Try: Ali Lauittiti
48th Minute Leeds Video Ref No Try: Jamie Jones-Buchanan
57th Minute Leeds Video Ref No Try: Jamie Peacock
59th Minute Leeds 10 Wigan 02 Try: Keith Senior
- Leeds 12 Wigan 02 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (2/3)
67th Minute Leeds 14 Wigan 02 Penalty Goal: Kevin Sinfield (3/4)
73rd Minute Leeds 14 Wigan 06 Try: Harrison Hansen
- Leeds 14 Wigan 08 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/2)
77th Minute Leeds 18 Wigan 08 Try: Lee Smith
- Leeds 18 Wigan 08 K.Sinfield Missed Conversion (3/5)
78th Minute Leeds 18 Wigan 12 Try: Iafeta Paleaaesina
- Leeds 18 Wigan 14 Conversion: Pat Richards (3/3)
Full Time Leeds Rhinos 18 Wigan Warriors 14

Referee

Steve Ganson (St Helens)

Penalties Conceded

Leeds 9 Wigan 7

Goal Line Drop Outs Forced

Leeds 3 Wigan 2

Video Referee

Ian Smith (Oldham)

Match Attendance

13,212

Television

Match Weather

Dry.

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