Match Report: Leeds 18 Wigan 16
Posted by Bilko on July 17 2016 - 11:34
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Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors - First Utility Super League 21 - Round 22
Friday 15th July 2016. Kick Off 8:00pm at Headingley.

Match Report

Wigan's eight game winning streak, that ironically began with a victory over Leeds at Magic Weekend, may have come to an end on Friday at Headingley but I've got to be honest that it wasn't too much of a shock to me.

I had a gut feeling all week that this game was ripe for us to lose. I just felt that the team selection would have more eyes on the upcoming Semi Final against Hull and Leeds are finding form for two reasons. One is that they are practically back to full strength, bar Danny McGuire, and also that James Segeyaro is giving them a bit of buzz from hooker that they haven't had all season.

My low expectation was heightened when I arrived and saw the teams but that's not to say I had no hope. I knew we would compete and that's exactly what we did. When Leeds got to 18-4 I thought that was harsh on Wigan but they rallied like they had done all season but this time perhaps lacked the patience when it mattered in the game.

The match in reality was decided by a goal kick missed by Matty Smith but the ultimate difference was the two benches. Leeds had an all forward bench which included three hugely experienced props. Wigan in comparison to those three had a jetlagged debutant who arrived in the country just last Monday, a 20 year stand off who was playing just his fourth match and a 19 year old centre who was making just his third appearance.

Neither Higginson or Shorrocks let us down but the game was screaming more for forwards when they arrived on the field but with Dom Crosby, Micky McIlorum, Joel Tomkins, Liam Farrell, Sean O'Loughlin, John Bateman and Tony Clubb all absent it is frankly remarkable we can compete so well with all those out and that's before mentioning key attacking strike power in Sam Tomkins and Anthony Gelling.

I've actually no idea where Shorrocks came on to play because he was on whilst George Williams, Matty Smith and Sam Powell all remained on the field also. That highlighted how much we were having to make do in this game. I think the lack of alternative to Powell at hooker is another issue that perhaps could haunt us when the big games come later in the year. He is busting his gut every match but how long can he keep doing that effectively?

We still could have won though. Two referee decisions against Charnley, one after he had broke up field, the other when he was penalised for taking a Leeds player out, when to me it looked more that the Leeds player had ran into him, where big moments in the second half.

You have to credit how strong Leeds defence was though. They worked and worked and although I sensed signs of tiredness second half they found two key opportunities to score second half that helped give them a second and perhaps third wind.

Earlier in the first half it was quite a defensive battle. I saw some on twitter suggesting it was a poor watch on Sky but without that commentary at the ground I thought it was a good contest.

Leeds had taken an 11th minute lead with a bad missed tackle by Oliver Gildart being followed by weak defending behind him that allowed Kallum Watkins to finish well. Liam Sutcliffe converted for 6-0.

Wigan quickly responded with a superb grubber from George Williams being touched down by Josh Charnley but Smith missed the extras so it was only 6-4.

The only other talking point left in the first half was a third man in "Cannonball" by Taulima Tautai that had the press benches wincing at the ground. My view is that it wasn't as bad as it looked BUT I still think that his involvement was totally unnecessary risk against a pretty much held Cuthbertson and that if we can eliminate the risk out of the game then that can only be good for the sport.

Second half saw Leeds increase their lead after 5 minutes with a try from Cuthbertson being scored near the posts for Sutcliffe to convert for 12-4 up.

Leeds are masters of controlling games when they get in front but I felt Wigan were lacking patience during this period of the match. Two breaks ended up wasted and if I feel their is one area that Wigan can improve massively on it is patience and an ability to rank up pressure by ruthlessly creating repeat sets.

Brian McDermott's side up the other end took one chance on 66 minutes which we all though had sealed the game. Instead of testing Dom Manfredi, who won his aerial battle with Ryan Hall 4-0, they instead kicked in the area Dan Sarginson was defending and he was legally bumped out the way by three big men and Brett Ferres pounced on the loose ball to score. Sutcliffe kicked for 18-4.

Even though Wigan have notoriously won tight games this year, this looked too much a score to overhaul. But within six minutes of that try Wigan had scored twice through Jack Higginson and then a great solo score by Williams that had Wigan just 18-16 down with still eight minutes to go.

Wigan were pumping Leeds line after that and had a penalty been given it would have been an easy option to "take the two" for the draw that would have kept us a point clear at the top. Leeds though held their discipline and when Leeds had survived Wigan's pressure you felt that our opportunity had gone even though we still had three minutes left. So it proved, Leeds hung on but Wigan's spirit certainly wasn't lacking. I'm adamant the Semi Final is far more important than this but it also increases the pressure for us to win that one at Doncaster.

Team Sheets

- Leeds Position Wigan 1
14 Liam Sutcliffe Full Back Lewis Tierney 22
2 Tom Briscoe

Right Wing

Dom Manfredi 5
3 Kallum Watkins Centre Dan Sarginson 4
4 Joel Moon Centre Oliver Gildart 20
5 Ryan Hall Left Wing Josh Charnley 2
25 Jordan Lilley Stand Off George Williams 6
7 Rob Burrow Scrum Half Matty Smith 7
8 Keith Galloway Prop Joe Bretherton 29
30 James Segeyaro Hooker Sam Powell 16
16

Brad Singleton

Prop

Ben Flower

10
19 Mitch Achurch 2nd Row Ryan Sutton 21
12 Carl Ablett 2nd Row Willie Isa 25
11

Jamie Jones-Buchanan

L.Forward

Lee Mossop

17
-
10 Adam Cuthbertson Substitute Taulima Tautai 19
15 Brett Delaney Substitute Frank-Paul Nuuausala 24
18 Jimmy Keinhorst Substitute Jake Shorrocks 28
26 Brett Ferres Substitute Jack Higginson 30
- Brian McDermott Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

Leeds Rhinos 18

---

Wigan Warriors 16

Tries (3):
Kallum Watkins
Adam Cuthbertson
Brett Ferres

---

Tries (3):
Josh Charnley
Jack Higginson
George Williams

Goals:
Liam Sutcliffe 3/3
--- Goals:
Matty Smith 2/3

Scoring and Incident Pattern

10mins:43 Leeds 04 Wigan 00

Try: Kallum Watkins

Leeds 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Liam Sutcliffe (1/1)
14mins:49 Leeds 06 Wigan 04

Try: Josh Charnley

Leeds 06 Wigan 04 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (0/1)
Half Time Leeds Rhinos 06 Wigan Warriors 04
45mins:38 Leeds 10 Wigan 04

Try: Adam Cuthbertson

Leeds 12 Wigan 04 Conversion: Liam Sutcliffe (2/2)
65mins:21 Leeds 16 Wigan 04

Try: Brett Ferres

Leeds 18 Wigan 04 Conversion: Liam Sutcliffe (3/3)
68mins:58 Leeds 18 Wigan 08

Try: Jack Higginson

Leeds 18 Wigan 10 Conversion: Matty Smith (1/2)
71mins:20 Leeds 18 Wigan 14

Try: George Williams

Leeds 18 Wigan 16 Conversion: Matty Smith (2/3)
Full Time Leeds Rhinos 18 Wigan Warriors 16

Referee

Robert Hicks

Penalties Conceded

Leeds 6 Wigan 8

Match Attendance

16,712

Weather

Dry Night with Sunny Spells.