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Match Report: Wigan 24 Leeds 4
Posted by Bilko on March 26 2010 - 22:21

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos - Engage Super League XV Round 8.
Friday 26th March 2010. Kick Off 8:00pm at DW Stadium.

Real grinder of a win tonight by Wigan against a depleted Leeds side. Don't let the Rhinos injury problems shine away from the effort though. Brian McClennan's outfit were well marshalled by Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow and we did well to halt them to just four points.

The injuries at Headingley saw Scott Donald, Brett Delaney, Kylie Leuluai, Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield, Greg Eastwood, Carl Ablett and Kallum Watkins missing whilst Wigan had Harrison Hansen (Shoulder) and Cameron Phelps (thigh) absent. The injury to Phelps saw Darrell Goulding return, whilst Mike McIlorum made his first appearance of the campaign, replacing Chris Tuson in the 17.

The visitors started the contest much stronger but confusion reigned when Leeds forced a drop out on 4 minutes. Referee Steve Ganson had deemed that Sam Tomkins had "diffused" a bomb in goal but video referee Thierry Alibert rightly corrected that it should be a drop out because Sam had jumped from in the field of play. Leeds then got a penalty from the drop out and perhaps they would have been better served to start chipping away at Wigan with penalty goals, considering the huge absences? But instead they tapped and soon knocked on.

Wigan were struggling to reach the Rhinos half. It took 8 minutes for us to finally get into an attacking position but, under pressure, Sean O'Loughlin knocked on our first chance to score as he tried to gather a grubber from Thomas Leuluai. Another Wigan attack soon followed, off the back of a penalty, but again the set was ended with an error from Andy Coley.

The match began to get bogged down in midfield, with penalties being required to built up try scoring positions. Leeds got such an opportunity after Stuart Fielden was penalised for interference on 17 minutes. From that, Jamie Jones-Buchanan went close to scoring but knocked on trying to take a pass near the line.

Wigan completion rate after 22 minutes was 50%, that really summed up their performance so far. Leeds weren't much better at 64%. It was really scrappy stuff and the conditions provided no excuse for it! Coach Michael Maguire was looking to change tact with the introduction of Mike McIlorum for his first appearance of 2010 but he went back off after just 3 minutes with a back injury.

The game needed a clean break to spark it into life and it came on 26 minutes from Leeds. Brent Webb got an offload away to send Danny Maguire on the break and he sent Rob Burrow racing to the line. He looked like he was a certain try scorer, but with help from the video referee's opinion, it was deemed that Richards and also Leuluai had held him up. Perhaps a big pivotal decision in the game? First try was going to be important the way this game had shaped up. NO TRY flashed on the big screen, much to Wigan fan's relief. Having said that I think both passes in the build up were forward anyway, so justice was probably served.

That relief soon turned into joy with Wigan finally getting the scoreboard ticking on 33 minutes. It came after a drop out had been forced by Goulding. On the left wing George Carmont beat a poor tackle attempt by Ryan Hall to score a neat try. Richards converted from wide to make it 6-0.

To be honest I was happy with 0-0 at that point because Leeds had slightly edged the contest. To be in the lead was a big bonus I felt. It looked like Wigan would reach half time comfortably until Burrow kicked a 40/20 with a minute to go. They couldn't get over though and so the half time score was 6-0 to Wigan.

I was quite confident going into the second half because I knew Wigan could play a lot better than they had shown in the first 40. But that confidence got an early fright when Leeds hit back within five minutes of the restart. Knock on by Eamon O'Carroll, under his own sticks, gifted them easy territory and quick hands saw Ryan Hall squeeze over in the right corner. Luckily Kevin Sinfield wasn't on the field and they had to rely on Rob Burrow to convert. He's not quality and he proved that with a miss. 6-4 though, Leeds back in it.

At this point Sam Tomkins came off injured with a thigh problem. It he had been playing with it heavily strapped anyway, so it obviously got the better of him. We also had Mark Riddell struggling with a shoulder injury, on top of the earlier injury to McIlorum and Andy Coley had a knock on his ankle. This left us with limited interchange options. To cover for Sam, Sean O'Loughlin made the switch to stand off with Joel Tomkins filling in at loose forward.

Those injuries didn't affect Wigan and they would soon build up enough pressure to increase their narrow lead. A neat grubber from Joel Tomkins helped Gleeson and Goulding force a drop out but having broke out of tackles, Stuart Fielden wasted it by allowing the ball to be stole off him one on one by Luke Burgess.

Didn't matter because on the next attack Richards broke across the field from left to right. Got tackled about 30 metres out, quick play the ball got Leeds on the back foot and eventually O'Loughlin threw a long ball out wide to send Goulding over in the corner. Richards then hit a sweet touchline conversion to make it 12-4. That lead wouldn't be that significant with Kevin Sinfield on the pitch but with Burrow goal kicking, it made me feel the game was ours to lose.

Stuart Fielden did his best to try and give Leeds and easy route back into the game by knocking on from the restart. He was adamant he'd been interfered with but he got a ticking off after arguing with the pedantic referee Ganson. The arguing saw Leeds given a penalty and although Fielden did respond with a big hit on the first tackle, he would have been  thankful that the set ended up with a knock on.

Next try was obviously going to be crucial and it looked like Leeds would get it when youngster Tom Bush broke clear from his own in goal down the left wing. Roberts came across from full back to halt his break and with the defence struggling to get back in position, he cleverly stole the ball one on one to give Wigan back possession. That's the difference between youth and experience!

A try didn't result from the ball steal but it did enough to peg Leeds back deep in their own half and they didn't help themselves with a last tackle kick out on the full by Webb. The pressure soon told with the superb O'Loughlin sending Joel Tomkins over from close range. Richards couldn't convert so at 16-4 the Rhinos still had a glimmer of hope.

That glimmer didn't last long with Wigan sealing the two points on the next attack. Roberts went probing at the line, got an offload away to Joel Tomkins, who then found Gleeson to send Goulding over for his second of the night, and seventh try in all this season. Not bad for a supposed reserve player! Richards booted a conversion off the touchline and with 16 minutes remaining the contest was over at 22-4.

Wigan shut up shop after that and chipped away with a penalty goal on 71 minutes. Leeds desperately tried to score late on but the video ref chalked another potential try of theirs off in the last minute. Full time score then was 24-4 to Wigan.

So in conclusion, whilst Wigan had probably timed their meeting with Leeds well they had to contend with their own injuries at a crucial time in this contest. So this win is very pleasing. Sam Tomkins didn't return in the last 30 minutes and could be doubtful for the Easter period. Mark Riddell is another injury concern but for Saints away, surely you just need to strap yourself up and deal with any injury afterwards? Mike McIlorum didn't last long during his first spell tonight but he did return towards the back end of the game, which suggests he will be fit and ready next week.

Reaction to the Action

Coach Michael Maguire: "I don't look at (the league table) - all I am worried about is next week and St Helens is our next one. There are a lot of teams sitting right below us - from what I have been told - and I am only focused on next week. We probably didn't build a lot of pressure from our attack, it was our defence that got us through They just kept working for each other. It was great character shown by a lot of the players. Leeds have been leading this competition for a long time and they know how to perform. Tonight was no different. It was a tough game and I always thought it was going to be that way. Whether or not they had players missing it was a credit to our guys to get the result they were after."

Leeds coach Brian McClennan: "It has been a tough few days with Kylie Leuluai and Brett Delaney also going down. I have been scratching my head and lost a bit more hair. So I am very proud of them. We got stuck in and had a good dig. At the 50th minute I thought we had them rattled a bit but, credit to Wigan, they came back strong and set some nice pieces up. They jumped away from us but, keeping it all in context, I think it was a good effort from our team."

Team Sheets

2Amos RobertsFull BackBrent Webb1
24Darrell GouldingWingerTom Bush26
3Martin GleesonCentreChris Clarkson27
4George CarmontCentreKeith Senior4
5Pat RichardsWingerRyan Hall5
6Sam TomkinsStand OffDanny McGuire6
7Thomas LeuluaiScrum HalfRob Burrow7
8Stuart FieldenPropRyan Bailey16
9Mark RiddellHookerMatt Diskin14
10Andy ColeyPropLuke Burgess19
16Phil Bailey2nd RowIan Kirke17
12Joel Tomkins2nd RowJay Pitts20
13Sean O'LoughlinL.ForwardJamie Jones-Buchanan11
14Paul PrescottSubstituteDanny Buderus9
15Mike McIlorumSubstituteAli Lauitiiti12
21Eamon O'CarrollSubstituteKyle Amor21
23Lee MossopSubstituteLuke Ambler24
-Michael MaguireCoachBrian McClennan-

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 24---Leeds Rhinos 04
Tries (4):
George Carmont
Darrell Goulding 2
Joel Tomkins
---Tries (1):
Ryan Hall
Pat Richards 4/5
Rob Burrow 0/1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

25mins:17Leeds Video Ref No TryRob Burrow (Held Up)
32mins:11Wigan 04Leeds 00Try: George Carmont
-Wigan 06Leeds 00Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
Half TimeWigan Warriors 06 Leeds Rhinos 00
45mins:06Wigan 06Leeds 04Try: Ryan Hall
-Wigan 06Leeds 04R.Burrow Missed Conversion (0/1)
51mins:39Wigan 10Leeds 04Try: Darrell Goulding
-Wigan 12Leeds 04Conversion: Pat Richards (2/2)
59mins:48Wigan 16Leeds 04Try: Joel Tomkins
-Wigan 16Leeds 04P.Richards Missed Conversion (2/3)
63mins:08Wigan 20Leeds 04Try: Darrell Goulding (2)
-Wigan 22Leeds 04Conversion: Pat Richards (3/4)
71mins:21Wigan 24Leeds 04Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (4/5)
79mins:15Leeds Video Ref No TryBrent Webb (Didn't Ground Ball)
Full TimeWigan Warriors 24 Leeds Rhinos 04

Video Highlights

Top 5 Wigan Players as voted on our Message Board

Man of the Match: Joel Tomkins
2nd: Mark Riddell 3rd: Thomas Leuluai 4th: Sean O'Loughlin 5th: Darrell Goulding


Steve Ganson

Video Referee

Thierry Alibert

Penalties Conceded

Wigan 8 Leeds 8

Goal Line Drop Outs Forced

Wigan 2 Leeds 1

Match Attendance

17,883 (1,116 Away Supporters)



Dry after rain during the day.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 15 Round 8

1Wigan Warriors8701278104+174W314
2Warrington Wolves8602249112+137W112
3St Helens8602227148+79W312
4Huddersfield Giants8503186102+84L110
5Hull FC8503194143+51L110
6Wakefield Wildcats8503173178-5L110
7Hull Kingston Rovers8404133175-42L18
8Bradford Bulls8404121167-46W18
9Leeds Rhinos8305180139+49L36
10Castleford Tigers8305168213-45W16
12Salford City Reds8206109197-88W14
13Catalans Dragons820698200-102W14

Round 8 Results
Fri 26 MarBradford Bulls 19 Harlequins 127,153
Fri 26 MarCastleford Tigers 22 Crusaders 165,299
Fri 26 MarWarrington Wolves 32 Wakefield Wildcats 1610,723
Fri 26 MarWigan Warriors 24 Leeds Rhinos 417,883
Sat 27 MarSalford City Reds 27 Hull FC 203,535
Sat 27 MarCatalans Dragons 16 Hull Kingston Rovers 106,513
Sun 28 MarHuddersfield Giants 6 St Helens 249,648

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