Saturday, 16 March 2013

Leeds v Wigan

A youthful Wigan side travelled to face Leeds with the news that the mercurial Sam Tomkins had failed to make the 17 due to injury meaning Pat Richards dropped to fullback and Hughes covered on the wing.

Wigan had a slow start and fell behind as early as the 10th minute as Ryan Hall danced through the defence and past stand-in fullback Richards to dive over for the opening try which Sinfield easily converted to give the Rhinos a 6-0 lead.

In recent weeks, Liam Farrell has been a consistent try scorer for Wigan and he added to his tally in the 20th minute but only after a video referee decision as Silverwood was unsure whether McIlorum had knocked-on in the build up which saw nice play from Green and Smith before Farrell went over the line. A groin injury to Richards meant the kicking duties went to Smith and he successfully converted his first ever two pointer for Wigan to level the score at 6-6.

Both sides had good discipline as it took until the 24th minute for the game's first penalty to be awarded as Dudson hit a high shot on Peacock and Leeds created a nice chance for Joel Moon but a superb 40/20 from Green allowed Wigan to counter.

Wigan seemed the likelier to post the next score and had a great chance when Buchanan went high on Tuson and conceded a penalty which Wigan elected to kick for goal and Smith did so successfully to give Wigan an 8-6 lead.

Leeds could have led at the break as Hall thundered over the line but thankfully for Wigan, Charnley got himself between the ball and the ground to deny the try and preserve the lead into the break.

Leeds did regain the lead early in the second half as the ball bounced off Charnley while being tackled by Hall and enabled Moon to go over for the try unmarked but the decision went to the video referee who deliberated for two minutes before awarding the score. Sinfield added to conversion to out Leeds up 12-8.

Leeds went clear on the hour mark as Jones-Buchanan swished past a diving Green to go in under the posts and Sinfield's conversion put the Rhinos 18-8 up. Wigan closed the gap back to four points as a nice combination of passes between Smith Green and Farrell allowed Thornley to crash over in the corner and a sweet conversion from the touchline by Smith put the score at 18-14.

Wigan pushed to regain the lead and wasted a glorious chance as O'Loughlin threw the ball out wide to find Thornley but found the fans in the stand instead and in the final seconds a kick to the corner found Charnley and the ball bounced to Tuson who went over but sadly Charnley had knocked on and meant at the hooter, Leeds were the victors and denied Wigan the chance to go top of the table.

I did predict a close game but not as close as what we all saw and the prediction was a long way away mainly because Wigan lost but hopefully will bounce back at home to Widnes on Saturday.