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Match Report: Leeds 34 Wigan 10
Posted by Bilko on March 14 2009 - 21:16

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors - Engage Super League XIV Round 5.
Friday 13th March 2009. Kick Off 8:00pm Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Match Report

Well strangely I actually didn't come off the ground feeling particularly gutted. I thought Leeds proved what a champion side they are with superb control of the ball and possession in the opening twenty minutes. They got three tries, kicked two 40/20s and the early pressure proved too much for us to come back from.

Wigan to be fair started terribly but Leeds were so clinical in starving us of the ball. Pleased though that our heads never dropped and I thought the effort was certainly there for all to see. Think it just wasn't our day. Leeds scored from a definite forward pass try in the first half, and two, albeit correct, NO TRY video ref calls early second half perhaps proved that.

As good as Leeds were though, Wigan have got to do better in executing set completion. The Rhinos starved us of possession because when they got it because they made zero errors and had excellent last tackle options (the two 40/20's for example).

Wigan either never made it to the last or when they did the option was poor. When we did build some pressure we showed we can compete. Two good tries and two excellent efforts that unfortunately for us where not legal. That's frustrating for me.

Coach Noble has to carry some of the can. When Wigan lose its a dreadful opening quarter that is generally to blame. I can't think of two many matches we've lost after starting well. But poor starts are sadly happening far too often. Even more frustrating because we finish matches well on top against most sides in terms of fitness. But why do we always start so slow?

Gareth Hock as well needs to learn. Outstanding last week and he is breathtaking at times but he really needs to learn when and when not to offload.

The frightening thing about Leeds is that internationals like Keith Senior and Danny Buderus were both missing, another international Greg Eastwood is still out the country with visa problems and three time Grand Final winner Matt Diskin was also absent. Personally not even St Helens will come close to denying Leeds Grand Final success again unless the Rhinos get serious injury problems.

Story of the match - well I've mentioned it already, Leeds made a superb fast paced start helped by a 40/20 from Rob Burrow. This eventually saw Kevin Sinfield send Kylie Leuluai over for a score in only the 3rd minute. Sinfield converted to make it 6-0.

11th Minute and Scott Donald increased the lead by touching down a neat kick from Danny McGuire. Sinfield again converted to make it 12-0.

Next came a garbage referee decision. Now I've not seen a TV replay in fairness but Ian Kirke's offload to Rob Burrow looked well forward. Referee Ian Smith allowed play on and couldn't go to the video to review a forward pass. So Sinfield converted to make it 18-0. Maybe we should follow the NRL in having two on field referees?

Outstanding start from Leeds and I don't think anyone would have lived with that - not even Manly who beat Leeds handsomely in the World Club Challenge two weeks earlier.

Frighteningly after a start like that, Leeds could bring Ali Lauiititi, Jamie Peacock and Brent Webb off the bench. Whoever the salary cap manager is at Leeds deserves a massive bonus! Although to be fair the academy manager of recent years deserves an even bigger bonus!

Wigan still struggled to get hold of the football and went further behind on the half hour. Sub Lauitiiti threw a great ball out wide for Ryan Hall to score from. Even though Sinfield missed the score was 22-0. Personally I was relieved it was only that much!

From this moment on though Wigan finally got going. Shaun Ainscough made a superb break down the left wing, chalking the touchline along the way, but it was all wasted by a garbage last tackle option. Not sure who it was but the option was to try and belly flop over from close range. Didn't get anywhere near going over. What a waste. You need to build pressure against sides like Leeds, give them difficult kicks and try to force drop outs. Wigan didn't do that once!

We did eventually get on the scoreboard before half time and it was the young kid Ainscough at the heart of it. He touched down after a good long pass out wide from Tommy Leuluai. Richards converted and going into half time only 22-6 down wasn't a bad result for Wigan.

Part of my frustration about starting matches poorly is that we always start second half's brilliantly - proved again here. Unfortunately we went over twice and both scores got chalked off.

We finally produced a good kick which was from Pat Richards which Scott Donald let bounce. Ainscough picked it up and sent Leuluai racing over the try line. Unfortunately from what I saw on the big screen (again I've not seen a replay) Leuluai was clearly in an offside position from the initial kick.

Minutes later Gareth Hock went over but video referee Phil Bentham ruled it out for obstruction. Again it looked a fair call. But two tries chalked off and a blatant forward pass try for Leeds. On another day Wigan could have been, with conversions, level at 18-18.

To make the wounds of those video ref decisions deeper, Leeds would score from their first attack of the second half. Ryan Hall it was getting a second try and the conversion made it 28-6. Such a fine line it was but to be perfectly honest Leeds deserved 28-6 more that Wigan would have deserved to be level at 18-18.

Into the final quarter and Wigan huffed and puffed but had just left themselves too much to do. Leeds scored again through Jamie Peacock whilst with three minutes to go Gareth Hock went over for us.

So all in all a lesson for Wigan I feel. We need to learn to build pressure with better last tackle plays and we shouldn't be afraid to be negative at times and just find touch. It kills momentum and gives you an opportunity to force a mistake. Letting a side run the ball back in is pointless half the time. Young Sam Tomkins struggled against a top side but hopefully he'll learn an awful lot from it.

Reaction to the Action

Brian Noble: "I thought our effort and vigour in the first 15 minutes of the second half was a whole lot better but we certainly paid the price for a poor start. For the first 15 minutes we didn't touch the ball and a couple of 40-20s got us. We had one set in their half and scored. We weren't going to get a call tonight but we didn't help ourselves. It was one of those nights when everything went against us."

Leeds coach Brian McClennan: "It was a really good effort led superbly by Kevin Sinfield, who is in outstanding form at the moment. He's an outstanding leader and an outstanding player. He's the best captain the club has ever had and we treasure what he does for us. 40-20s can really turn a game, A team gets excited by the play and, whenever a team gets one, they nearly always get a good attacking set off the back of it. I'm really pleased with the way they applied themselves. I thought we played pretty well and our defence was very good."

Team Sheets

- Leeds Position Wigan -
3 Lee Smith Full Back Pat Richards 5
2 Scott Donald Winger Amos Roberts 2
20 Ashley Gibson Centre Phil Bailey 12
23 Kallum Watkins Centre George Carmont 4
5 Ryan Hall Winger Shaun Ainscough 28
6 Danny McGuire Stand Off Sam Tomkins 25
7 Rob Burrow Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Kylie Leuluai Prop Stuart Fielden 8
11 J.Jones-Buchanan Hooker Mark Riddell 9
16 Ryan Bailey Prop Iafeta Paleaaesina 10
18 Carl Ablett 2nd Row Gareth Hock 11
17 Ian Kirke 2nd Row Joel Tomkins 14
13 Kevin Sinfield L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
- - - - -
1 Brent Webb Substitute Andy Coley 15
10 Jamie Peacock Substitute Harrison Hansen 16
12 Ali Lauitiiti Substitute Mike McIlorum 17
19 Luke Burgess Substitute Eamon O'Carroll 23

Score Sheet

Leeds Rhinos 34 --- Wigan Warriors 10
Tries (6):
Kylie Leuluai
Scott Donald
Rob Burrow
Ryan Hall 2
Jamie Peacock
--- Tries (2):
Shaun Ainscough
Gareth Hock
Kevin Sinfield 5/6
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 1/2

Scoring and Incident Pattern

3rd Minute Leeds 04 Wigan 00 Try: Kylie Leuluai
- Leeds 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (1/1)
11th Minute Leeds 10 Wigan 00 Try: Scott Donald
- Leeds 12 Wigan 00 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (2/2)
18th Minute Leeds 16 Wigan 00 Try: Rob Burrow
- Leeds 18 Wigan 00 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (3/3)
30th Minute Leeds 22 Wigan 00 Try: Ryan Hall
- Leeds 22 Wigan 00 K.Sinfield Missed Conversion (3/4)
37th Minute Leeds 22 Wigan 04 Try: Shaun Ainscough
- Leeds 22 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
Half Time Leeds Rhinos 22 Wigan Warriors 06
41st Minute Wigan NO TRY Thomas Leuluai (Offside)
49th Minute Wigan NO TRY Gareth Hock (Obstruction)
51st Minute Leeds 26 Wigan 06 Try: Ryan Hall (2)
- Leeds 28 Wigan 06 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (4/5)
66th Minute Leeds 32 Wigan 06 Try: Jamie Peacock
- Leeds 34 Wigan 06 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (5/6)
77th Minute Leeds 34 Wigan 10 Try: Gareth Hock
- Leeds 34 Wigan 10 P.Richards Missed Conversion (1/2)
Full Time Leeds Rhinos 34 Wigan Warriors 10


Ian Smith (Oldham)

Penalties Conceded

Leeds 6 Wigan 6

Video Referee

Phil Bentham (Warrington)

Match Attendance





League Table at Conclusion of Super League 14 Round 5

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Leeds Rhinos 5 5 0 0 119 44 +75 10
2 Hull FC 5 5 0 0 134 86 +48 10
3 St Helens 5 4 0 1 110 52 +58 8
4 Wakefield Wildcats 6 4 0 2 141 97 +44 8
5 Hull Kingston Rovers 5 3 1 1 122 87 +35 7
6 Harlequins 4 3 0 1 138 58 +80 6
7 Castleford Tigers 5 3 0 2 136 98 +38 6
8 Huddersfield Giants 5 3 0 2 98 91 +7 6
9 Wigan Warriors 6 2 0 4 116 120 -4 4
10 Catalans Dragons 5 1 0 4 92 132 -40 2
11 Salford City Reds 5 1 0 4 84 183 -99 2
12 Bradford Bulls 4 0 1 3 59 109 -50 1
13 Celtic Crusaders 5 0 0 5 60 136 -76 0
14 Warrington Wolves 5 0 0 5 78 194 -116 0

Round 5 Results
Fri 13 Mar Leeds Rhinos 34 Wigan Warriors 10 17,677
Fri 13 Mar St Helens 38 Salford City Reds 12 9,723
Sat 14 Mar Harlequins 60 Warrington Wolves 8 3,206
Sat 14 Mar Castleford Tigers 24 Huddersfield Giants 26 6,572
Sun 15 Mar Bradford Bulls 24 Hull FC 26 11,327
Sun 15 Mar Hull Kingston Rovers 48 Celtic Crusaders 18 8,046
Sun 15 Mar Wakefield Wildcats 30 Catalan Dragons 18 4,807

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