Match Report: Wigan 23 Leeds 22
Posted by Bilko on July 04 2008 - 21:46
Quiet Night - Not much happened. :D
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Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos. Engage Super League XIII Round 20.
Friday 4th July 2008. Kick Off 8:00pm at JJB Stadium.

Thoughts on the Match

Fantastic. What an game! 100% first half completion was a truly magnificent effort. Big hits, good tactics and taking chances - that's how you win games. Ok Leeds came back but they are a class side. In the end we well our nerve and got a deserved win.

But it still begs the question - why oh why can't we produce that effort against Saints?

I had a sneaky feeling about tonight. Wigan fans were writing our chances off but again it proved never write us off at the JJB.

Every player stood up and was counted. Big hits galore and barely any knock on's or stupid penalties!

Like I said they've proved they can do it as a one off - but the litmus test is whether they can jump off that top diving board in the baths when they face Saints at the JJB in two weeks.

Story of the Match

Wigan held off a tremendous onslaught in a JJB Stadium thriller to condemn engage Super League champions Leeds to a third defeat in four matches.

The Rhinos, who trailed 23-6 after an hour, looked set to pull off a sensational victory after scoring three tries in a frantic and dramatic 10-minute spell that cut the gap to a single point but Rob Burrow missed a last-minute 40-metre penalty.

Leeds could now lose top spot if St Helens beat Harlequins by 32 points at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Wigan had earlier turned on the style to stun the visitors with three first half tries without reply.

Winger Cameron Phelps, the Warriors recent signing from Canterbury Bulldogs, grabbed two tries in the first nine minutes as the home side made a dream start.

Leeds, whose lead over Saints had been cut to just two points after back-to-back defeats by their nearest rivals and Harlequins, were boosted by the return of their six England internationals.

Wigan, on the other hand, lost front row forwards Iafeta Paleaaesina and Paul Prescott from the side that beat Harlequins a week ago and gave a debut to 19-year-old back-row forward Chris Tuson.

But the Warriors front-line forwards set a tremendous lead, with Stuart Fielden and Andy Coley magnificent in defence and attack as the home side scored from the first set of six tackles.

A neat off-load by Gareth Hock freed full-back Pat Richards, and although the supporting Thomas Leuluai was eventually hauled down, the Rhinos were sufficiently stretched for Phelps to win the race to touch down Brent Barrett's perfectly-judged kick.

Richards added a conversion, the first of three goals, and Leuluai combined with centre George Carmont to get the Australian over for his second try.

When Leeds eventually got their hands on the ball they looked threatening, and Wigan were forced to scramble to keep their line intact.

Coley pulled off a superb last-ditch tackle to deny the dangerous Brent Webb and Fielden demonstrated Wigan's spirit by tracking back to punch the ball ahead of the chasing Danny McGuire.

When the champions eventually crossed the winning line they were denied by video referee Steve Ganson, who spotted winger Ryan Hall's foot brush the touch-line.

The Warriors were able to demonstrate superior clinical finishing and stretched their lead after 29 minutes when substitute Liam Colbon re-gathered Leuluai's lofted kick to claim his side's third try.

It was an almost perfect 40 minutes for Brian Noble's men and Richards put the seal on it with a drop goal seconds before the break, which was to prove ultimately decisive.

It was a similar story in the second half with Burrow looking dangerous only to lose the ball over the try line, but it was the diminutive half-back who sparked the fightback with 51 minutes gone.

His trademark dash through the heart of the Wigan defence took him clear and, when his former Rhinos team-mate Mark Calderwood got back to haul him down, McGuire was in support to finish off the move.

Kevin Sinfield, whose 63-match scoring sequence came to an end when he sat out last week's win over Castleford, started a new run with the conversion to make it 17-6.

Richards calmed Wigan's nerves with a second penalty and centre Darrell Goulding looked to have sealed the win when he fought his way out of tackles to score a fourth try on the hour.

There seemed no way back from 23-6 but the Rhinos launched all out attack and, aided by a string of penalties, put the home defence under almost constant pressure in the final quarter, which produced three quick-fire tries.

A long pass from McGuire enabled Hall to squeeze over at the corner and three minutes later winger Scott Donald palmed the ball back from Burrow's kick for Keith Senior to touch down.

Sinfield's second conversion cut the gap to seven points and it was down to one eight minutes from the end when another clever pass from McGuire found Gareth Ellis in space to score.

With Sinfield off the field, Burrow added the conversion and he was handed a glorious opportunity to win it at the death when Wigan were pulled up for offside 40 metres out but his kick fell short and wide of the target.

Game Breaking Moment

Missed penalty goal at the death!

Top Player

Stuart Fielden - No Feka? No Worries says Stuart. Stepped up to the plate and has been excellent in recent weeks. Praise due for Coley as well.

Reaction to the Action

Brian Noble: "They really ripped into us towards the end. Ali Lauitiiti was playing basketball and the three blokes you don't want to get the ball in broken field - Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and Brent Webb - all came at us. But I thought we had done enough in the first 55 or 60 minutes, so we would have been disappointed if we had lost. The drop-goal just before half-time was probably a smart play in the end. The front row was good again. Stuart Fielden is back to something like international form and Andy Coley has showed why he was in the international set-up at the back end of last year."

Leeds coach Brian McClennan:: "You want to win those close games. I know we've been involved in what you would regard as a great game but to lose is hard to take. The first 20 minutes, we were indisciplined and that's something that has got to improve. Going down 16-0 is what cost us the game. Rob (Burrow) is a fantastic player and I am disappointed he was put in that position (of kicking to win the game).."

Team Sheets

-WiganPositionLeeds-
5Pat RichardsFull BackBrent Webb1
2Mark CalderwoodWingerRyan Hall22
3Darrell GouldingCentreGareth Ellis12
4George CarmontCentreKeith Senior4
21Cameron PhelpsWingerScott Donald2
6Trent BarrettStand OffDanny McGuire6
7Thomas LeuluaiScrum HalfRob Burrow7
8Stuart FieldenPropKylie Leuluai8
9Mick HighamHookerMatt Diskin9
15Andy ColeyPropJamie Peacock10
16Harrison Hansen2nd RowJamie
Jones-Buchanan
11
22Joel Tomkins2nd RowAli Lauitiiti14
11Gareth HockL.ForwardKevin Sinfield13
-----
14Liam ColbonSubstituteLee Smith5
17Mike McIlorumSubstituteRyan Bailey16
24Eamon O'CarrollSubstituteLuke Burgess24
30Chris TusonSubstituteDanny Allan25

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 23---Leeds Rhinos 22
Tries (4):
Cameron Phelps 2
Liam Colbon
Darrell Goulding
---Tries (4):
Danny McGuire
Ryan Hall
Keith Senior
Gareth Ellis
Goals:
Pat Richards 3/6
---Goals:
Kevin Sinfield 2/3
Rob Burrow 1/2
Drop Goals:
Pat Richards 1
---Goals:
Kevin Sinfield 2/3
Rob Burrow 1/2

Scoring and Incident Pattern

00mins:51Wigan 04Leeds 00Try: Cameron Phelps
-Wigan 06Leeds 00Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
08mins:41Wigan 10Leeds 00Try: Cameron Phelps (2)
-Wigan 10Leeds 00P.Richards Missed Conversion (1/2)
13mins:10Wigan 12Leeds 00Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (2/3)
29mins:09Wigan 16Leeds 00Try: Liam Colbon
-Wigan 16Leeds 00P.Richards Missed Conversion (2/4)
39mins:00Wigan 17Leeds 00Drop Goal: Pat Richards
Half TimeWigan Warriors 17 Leeds Rhinos 00
50mins:30Wigan 17Leeds 04Try: Danny McGuire
-Wigan 17Leeds 06Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (1/1)
54mins:46Wigan 19Leeds 06Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (3/5)
58mins:55Wigan 23Leeds 06Try: Darrell Goulding
-Wigan 23Leeds 06P.Richards Missed Conversion (3/6)
62mins:36Wigan 23Leeds 10Try: Ryan Hall
-Wigan 23Leeds 10K.Sinfield Missed Conversion (1/2)
65mins:02Wigan 23Leeds 16Try: Keith Senior
-Wigan 23Leeds 16Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (2/3)
72mins:10Wigan 23Leeds 20Try: Gareth Ellis
-Wigan 23Leeds 22Conversion: Rob Burrow (1/1)
79mins:51Wigan 23Leeds 22R.Burrow Missed Penalty Goal (1/2)
Full TimeWigan Warriors 23 Leeds Rhinos 22

Video Highlights

Referee

Ashley Klein (Video Referee: Steve Ganson).

Penalties Conceded

Wigan 7 Leeds 10

Goal Line Drop Outs Forced

Wigan 0 Leeds 3

Match Attendance

14,911

Television

Weather

Dry, sunny but not too hot!

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 13 Round 20

-TeamPWDLFADiffPts
1St Helens201505678353+32530
2Leeds Rhinos201505604301+30330
3Catalans Dragons201415528424+10429
4Wigan Warriors191117464467-323
5Warrington Wolves201109523520+322
6Bradford Bulls2010010509471+3820
7Wakefield Wildcats2010010442526-8420
8Harlequins208012399543-14416
9Hull Kingston Rovers207112371507-13615
10Huddersfield Giants196112428492-6413
11Hull FC205114390483-9311
12Castleford Tigers204115381631-2509

Round 20 Results
Fri 4 July Wigan Warriors 23 Leeds Rhinos 22 14,911
Sat 5 July Harlequins 0 St Helens 54 4,276
Sun 6 July Castleford Tigers 18 Huddersfield Giants 10 7,771
Sun 6 July Huddersfield Giants 25 Bradford Bulls 24 10,786
Sun 6 July Warrington Wolves 60 Wakefield Wildcats 24 9,290
Sun 6 July Hull FC 18 Catalan Dragons 30 11,006