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10th October 2003: Leeds 22 Wigan 23
Posted by Bilko on January 31 2016 - 23:56

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors - Tetley's Super League XIII Play Off Eliminator.
Friday 10th October 2003. Kick Off 8:00pm at Headingley.

Match Report

A 77th minute drop goal to Danny Tickle gave Wigan Warriors a 23-22 win at Leeds Rhinos on Friday night and sealed their place in the Tetley's Rugby Super League Grand Final.
It was a superb Final Eliminator as the sides threatened to repeat the two 24-all draws they have already contested at Headingley this season.

But Tickle's late drop goal proved the difference between the sides as Wigan set up a repeat of the 2001 Grand Final against Bradford at Old Trafford next week.

The Rhinos sprang a surprise in their team selection, with Mark Calderwood being dropped, Richard Mathers switching to wing and Danny McGuire, normally a stand off, coming in at full back.

The odds on Wigan scoring a try from a kick looked strong with this move, but it was not through testing the youngster that they took the lead in the eighth minute.

Leeds half back Andrew Dunemann launched a bomb from half way, but Brian Carney collected ahead of Keith Senior before racing up the touchline and exchanging passes with Kris Radlinski to touch down.

Brett Dallas produced a fine try-saving tackle on Gary Connolly, but two penalties against the Warriors gave Leeds the platform for Matt Diskin to grubber through, McGuire racing in to touch down.

Kevin Sinfield converted and then added a penalty after Quentin Pongia's high tackle on Chris McKenna.

Leeds' continued to dominate, with Mathers unable to take McGuire's pass after Diskin and Rob Burrow had broken up the middle.

And the England A duo of McGuire and Burrow combined again on 25 minutes, with the latter racing 35 yards to the line following Chris Feather's offload.

Sinfield opened up a 14-4 lead with the goal, but Warriors captain Andy Farrell seemed determined to single-handedly haul his side back into the game.

Dallas was stopped by Cummins after breaking clear with five minutes to go in the half, while Paul Johnson was tackled short by Burrow before Sean O'Loughin dived in from dummy half.

Farrell converted to cut the gap to four points at the break, but Leeds moved further ahead on 49 minutes, when Danny Ward and Sinfield but McGuire away, and he drew Radlinski and Carney before Burrow scooted over for his second.

But Wigan hit back in style after Dallas and David Hogdson trapped McGuire in-goal five minutes later, with O'Loughlin taking a Pongia offload before darting through a gap to touch down, Farrell goaling.

Sinfield edged Leeds out to 20-16 with a penalty after Newton's lifting tackle on Dunemann, but Carney's wonderful second try on 62 minutes turned the game.

He took the ball from dummy half ten minutes out from his own line, span out of Keith Senior's tackle and slipped out of the grasp of Wayne McDonald and Burrow in a thrilling dash to the line.

Farrell's conversion put Wigan 22-20 ahead, and they continued to press, with Luke Robinson's kick forcing Cummins to concede a drop out.

Leeds' Chris McKenna saw his pass for Mathers fly into touch with nine minutes remaining, but Terry O'Connor's off-the-ball pull on McGuire allowed Sinfield to level matters with a 35-metre penalty.

But a knock on from Willie Poching - when Leeds were calling for a penalty for interference - gave Wigan the platform for Tickle to drop the winning goal.

There was still time for late drama as Senior, McGuire and Sinfield broke clear, but Wigan held on to seal their place at Old Trafford.

"We're nearly there, but we're not there yet," said Warriors assistant coach Denis Betts. "The performance was very solid and built on character and faith in themselves and each other.

"I felt we were always in the game but we dropped off a couple of times. They want to challenge themselves and we've got better each week.

"This is knockout football and it's who turns up on the day. We have faith in our ability but come Saturday night it's down to the players on the field. It will be a great game."

Rhinos coach Daryl Powell - who now moves into a director of rugby role - said: "The players are absolutely gutted and they will feel, justifiably, that they deserved to win the game.

"That was as well as we have played for a long time. We played a pretty smart game but Wigan fought hard to win the game and I wish them luck.

"We're bitterly disappointed we haven't won but the players will use it to galvanise them and pull together. They have learned a lot this year and I'm proud of them."

Team Sheets

- Leeds Position Leeds -
6 Danny McGuire Full Back Kris Radlinski 1
21 Richard Mathers Winger Brian Carney 5
18 Gary Connolly Centre Martin Aspinwall 18
4 Keith Senior Centre David Hodgson 14
1 Francis Cummins Winger Brett Dallas 2
14 Andrew Dunemann Stand Off Sean O'Loughlin 15
7 Rob Burrow Scrum Half Luke Robinson 20
12 Matt Adamson Prop Quentin Pongia 30
9 Matt Diskin Hooker Terry Newton 9
10 Barrie McDermott Prop Craig Smith 10
11 Dave Furner 2nd Row Mick Cassidy 11
3 Chris McKenna 2nd Row Danny Tickle 12
13 Kevin Sinfield L.Forward Andy Farrell 13
8 Danny Ward Substitute Paul Johnson 4
15 Chris Feather Substitute Terry O'Connor 8
16 Willie Poching Substitute Mark Smith 17
17 Wayne McDonald Substitute Gareth Hock 23

Score Sheet

Leeds Rhinos 22 --- Wigan Warriors 23
Tries (3):
Danny McGuire
Robert Burrow 2
--- Tries (4):
Brian Carney 2
Sean O'Loughlin 2
Kevin Sinfield 5/6
--- Goals:
Danny Tickle 0/1
Andy Farrell 3/3
--- --- Drop Goals:
Danny Tickle 1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

06mins:56 Leeds 00 Wigan 04 Try: Brian Carney
- Leeds 00 Wigan 04 D.Tickle Missed Conversion (0/1)
12mins:29 Leeds 04 Wigan 04 Try: Danny McGuire
- Leeds 06 Wigan 04 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (1/1)
17mins:44 Leeds 08 Wigan 04 Penalty Goal: Kevin Sinfield (2/2)
24mins:10 Leeds 12 Wigan 04 Try: Rob Burrow
- Leeds 14 Wigan 04 Conversion: Kevin Sinfield (3/3)
35mins:55 Leeds 14 Wigan 08 Try: Sean O'Loughlin
- Leeds 14 Wigan 10 Conversion: Andy Farrell (1/1)
Half Time Leeds Rhinos 14 Wigan Warriors 10
48mins:52 Leeds 18 Wigan 10 Try: Rob Burrow (2)
- Leeds 18 Wigan 10 K.Sinfield Missed Conversion (3/4)
54mins:54 Leeds 18 Wigan 14 Try: Sean O'Loughlin (2)
- Leeds 18 Wigan 16 Conversion: Andy Farrell (2/2)
58mins:03 Leeds 20 Wigan 16 Penalty Goal: Kevin Sinfield (4/5)
61mins:14 Leeds 20 Wigan 20 Try: Brian Carney (2)
- Leeds 20 Wigan 22 Conversion: Andy Farrell (3/3)
73mins:20 Leeds 22 Wigan 22 Penalty Goal: Kevin Sinfield (5/6)
77mins:03 Leeds 22 Wigan 23 Drop Goal: Danny Tickle
Full Time Leeds Rhinos 22 Wigan Warriors 23

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Steve Ganson (St Helens)

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