Leeds Rhinos host the Wigan Warriors, in what will be a feisty game on Friday night at Headingley Stadium. Both sides go into this game on the back of great wins. Wigan won the reverse game earlier in the season 28-6 at the DW Stadium. Leeds are now confirmed in the Middles 8’s, and this game will be more for pride, than anything else. Whilst Wigan will be hoping to continue their recent run of form and stay top of the league going into the Super 8’s.
LAST TIME OUT
Leeds Rhinos come into this game on the back of a sensational comeback victory over the then league leaders, Hull FC. Leeds, like they have been doing for a while now, scored the first try of the game, very early on through Liam Sutcliffe. Hull responded well, scoring back to back tries through Tuimavave and Yeaman. Hull took control of the game and started to dictate the ball. Sneyd slotted over a late first half drop goal to give Hull a 13-4 lead at half time. Leeds came out strong in the second half, just after Jones-Buchanan had a try disallowed, Joel Moon went over for the try to spark a comeback. Hull seemed to be off their game a bit in the second half, knowing this, Sneyd took the chance to kick at goal to stretch his sides lead to 2 tries again. With 9 minutes to go, Leeds trailed 15-8, and needed 2 scores to secure a remarkable win. Kallum Watkins went over twice in the space of 4 minutes, which was followed up by a Sutcliffe penalty to seal a dramatic 20-15 comeback for an improving Leeds side.
Wigan Warriors come into this game on the back of a dramatic 22-18 victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. Wigan played the best part of 60 minutes of the game with just 12 men as they had both Manfredi and Charnley sent to the sin-bin, followed up by a red card to captain Sean O’Loughlin, for a poorly timed high tackle. Wakefield got off to a great start when Jowitt went over for the first try of the game. Wigan were sluggish from the start, and didn’t really get anything going in the first half. However, they did manage to take a 10-6 lead into half time, after Gildart and Powell went over for the tries. Wakefield made the extra man count at the start of the second half when they took the lead through a Reece Lyne try. Wigan kept Wakefield out well and defended their line with great force. However, Jones-Bishop extended Wakefield’s lead and Liam Finn kicked a penalty to stretch it to 18-10. Wigan’s final 20 minutes were superb. They started to attack and showed great character to spark a comeback. Lewis Tierney would be the hero for Wigan after scoring 2 tries, the winner coming as the final hooter sounded to seal a remarkable, and dramatic 22-18 victory.
Last week, Burrows and Lilley played in the halves as Danny Maguire is still out injured. They have played quite a few game together now and have started to grow a bit of a partnership. Wigan’s Smith and Williams have continued to grow and become one of the top pairings in super league in recent weeks. Williams in particular has started to show some great form and become a real influential player for the Warriors.
Once again, Wigan’s forwards drove them to victory last week, after digging real deep and showing some real grit and determination to get the win. With the potential debut of ‘The Wrecking Ball’ Frank-Paul Nu’uausala, it can only improve the Warriors forward line and in particular, add some much needed extra power to the Warriors.
Leeds are finally starting to show show form, with a few of their big names returning to full fitness. Wigan seem to be losing players as others return, they can’t seem to get a fully fit squad. However, they are finding a way to win, Leeds’ centre pairing 0f Watkins and Moon have been influential in recent weeks, while Wigan have had to switch around their wingers and centre’s due to injury, yet they still seem to be on top form, it’ll be a great battle between both wings on Friday night.
Wigan go into this game on the back of a sensational run of wins, many which have come away from home. They’ll be looking to extend that run here, and will fancy their chances against a Leeds side, who in retrospect, have nothing to play for.
Wigan Warriors by 14
Leeds Rhinos 19-man squad: Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Burrow, Galloway, Cuthbertson, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Delaney, Singleton, Garbutt, Keinhorst, Achurch, Handley, Golding, Lilley, Segeyaro.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Bretherton, Charnley, Flower, Gildart, Higginson, Isa, Manfredi, Mossop, Nuuausala, Powell, Sarginson, Shorrocks, Smith, Shelford, Sutton, Tautai, Tierney, S Tomkins, Williams.
Venue: Headingley Stadium, Leeds
Date/Time: Friday 15th July 2016 – 20:00pm GMT
Referee: Joe Cobb