Friday, 6 September 2013

Rhinos Pip Warriors To Third

It seems like just yesterday that Wigan were preparing for the first round of the season against Salford but the reality is that they are reflecting on a defeat to Leeds in the final round which saw them fall to and finish in fourth place.

The pre-match build up focused on the Man of Steel shirts and sponsorship for each side with both fielding past Men of Steel - Jamie Peacock for Leeds and Sam Tomkins and Pat Richards for Wigan and for Richards along with Tuson and Mossop it was a final Super League home game before moving to pastures new for 2014.

Both sides made cagey starts with kicking being the main focus of the early sets but Leeds went over for a try against the run of play and the decision was handed 'upstairs' to the video referee who deemed a 'no try' for a double movement while Wigan breathed a sigh of relief.

Wigan could have scored themselves after a superb 40/20 kick by Green put them in a great position and as a result, Thornley went over for a try but it was chalked off for a forward pass in the build up

 Leeds forced two dropouts in succession as they threatened to open the scoring which they did in the 24th minute after Green's pass to Richards was intercepted close to the Leeds line and saw Ben Jones-Bishop race away leaving the Wigan chasing defenders for dust as he went over for the opening try but Sinfield's missed kick meant a slim 0-4 lead.

Green came close to making up for his mistake on the half-hour as he sent a pass to Thornley who rushed at the defence but the next play saw Wigan fail to take advantage and Leeds gained the ball via the turnover.

Wigan did take the lead two minutes before the interval as Green broke through the Leeds defence and raced away but with Hardaker ahead of him he passed to Richards who evaded the full back to dash over the line to a roar from the Warriors fans and he got similar praise as he swept over the conversion for a 6-4 lead at half time.

Leeds took just two minutes before they retook the lead after a great offload by Moon sent Ablett in and Sinfield kicked successfully for a 6-10 lead. Wigan could have gone further behind just on the hour mark as Watkins came close to scoring but was prevented by fine defence from the Warriors.

The lead did increase minutes later as Hall linked a pass to Moon down the left and over he went for the try and as Sinfield added the extras for 6-16, Wigan needed a miracle to keep third place.

It was surely game over within minutes as Leeds went in again as Watkins hit a grubber kick from 10m and collected his own kick to go over for the try to the cheers of the Rhinos fans and the groans of the home fans who had a small cheer when Sinfield missed the goal, 6-20.

Wigan pushed to score but to no avail and as the hooter sounded it confirmed another miserable defeat for Wigan and their third in succession in the league and meant that they would finish fourth in the table and as such travel to face League Leaders Huddersfield on Thursday in Play-offs Week One.

Another failed prediction but the result was clear after the hour mark as Wigan were struggling to get anywhere partially due to consistently poor refereeing by Silverwood who in a five minute period in the second half missed six clear forward passes by Leeds so if this is the state of the referees in Super League then the next game is going to be a massive challenge.