Wigan Warriors punish a youthful Leeds Rhinos side on a wet night at the DW Stadium. The Rhinos where nilled for only the second time in Super League history, as Wigan ran in seven tries to complete a comfortable 34-0 victory.
CONDITIONS DIDN’T HELP THE GAME
As the rain started pouring, you had a feeling this wasn’t going to be the best of games. It was a real grim night in Wigan, one in which was full of handling errors, mainly from the in-experienced Rhinos side. I lost count at the amount of times that Leeds knocked on in that first half, they didn’t help themselves at all early on.
Wigan got the game’s first try after 11 minutes when Michael McIlorum eased through a gap in the Rhinos defence. He’ll not score an easier try all year. A few minutes later, Sam Tomkins scored a blinding solo effort, as he got on the end of his own grubber through the Rhinos defence to score in the corner. Wigan led 10-0 after 15 minutes.
It took them 15 minutes to get the first couple of tries, and after they did, you sensed that they may kick on and get a few more, but the remainder of the first half didn’t really go like that. Leeds struggled to grow into the game, especially on the attacking front. However, they defended well throughout the first half, and stayed strong at crucial times.
WIGAN AHEAD, BUT NOT CONVINCING
It wasn’t until the 31st minute that Wigan got their next points, as George Williams went over for his first of the night after barging over with three Rhinos players on his back. Wigan were good for their lead, but didn’t look too convincing at the same time. It was a very bizarre game, as it just had the feeling of a pre-season friendly.
There was no real go in any of the Wigan players, but they were doing good enough to get the win. Leeds had defended well in the first half, and deserved to not be on the end of a humiliating scoreline. They could’ve folded early on and been completely battered, but the dug deep and stayed focused. It was a credit to the young players.
Wigan started the second half 14-0 up, and the fans wanted more. Again, it took 10 minutes into the half, but Oliver Gildart would score two tries in the space of four minutes to put the game to bed, and stop any sort of nervous energy coming from the Warriors fans. Wigan now led 24-0, with still 25 minutes to go.
RHINOS START TO FATIGUE
As the game went on, the Rhinos experienced heads started to tire, and that started to affect the side. Wigan would get more chances to score, and as they piled more and more pressure on the Leeds defence. You could see the players were struggling, but credit to the Rhinos players, as they still didn’t totally collapse.
Once again, the game would go rather stale for the middle period of the half. Wigan had full control of the game, but they still didn’t capitalise on it enough, as their attack struggled. It’s been a recurring theme for Wigan this season, and even though they’ve scored more tries than Leeds, who sit second, it’s still not been good enough.
As the game entered its final 10 minutes, Leeds players where struggling, and it showed as Wigan would go over for their sixth, and best looking try of the night as Tom Davies flew over in the corner. It’s so frustrating for Wigan fans when they see their side struggle so much in attack, as they know how good they can be.
SCORELINE HARSH ON YOUNG RHINOS
George Williams would go under the sticks for the seventh and final try of the game as Wigan finished up 34-0 winners. It sealed a good win for the Warriors, who won’t be getting too carried away with the win, as they know how tough Leeds were doing it. Nevertheless, it’s not every day you get to nil a Leeds Rhinos side, no matter the situation.
What can be said for Wigan, is that it’s a great boost going into next week’s huge semi-final against Salford. They may have not been on top form once again, but the win, and the defence will only boost the morale throughout the camp as the build-up to one of their biggest game of the season.
As for Leeds, the young lads can hold their heads up high. They didn’t collapse, and where rather unlucky to be on the end of such a high scoreline. They’ll learn a lot from that game, and it’ll only help their development coming up against such a big side, in front of a decent crowd, while playing in some tough conditions.
Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane:
“It was a no-win for us tonight, but I liked the manner in what we did in those conditions out there. Some of our defence was very good.
“I know the situation with Leeds, they were busted out there. But we’ve scored 100 tries this season and Leeds have scored 95, so we’re doing ok.
“We’re not getting too carried away ahead of next week, we know Salford are going to be very tough in the semi-final.”
Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott:
“I’m disappointed about the 34-0 score line and that we didn’t get a try at least. It was always going to be tough on paper.
“There was a fair amount of good points to make us feel proud but once our in-experienced men started to fatigue, Wigan got in a few times.
“Our try-line defence in the first half was great. I thought we were outstanding but we couldn’t create any momentum or yardage.”
IN THE SHEDS
There were no injuries or potential suspensions to report from this game.
Wigan Warriors: (14) 34
Tries: McIlorum, Tomkins, Williams 2, Gildart 2, Davies
Conversions: Williams 2/6, Powell 1/1
Leeds Rhinos: (0) 0
Wigan Warriors: Tomkins, Davies, Gelling, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leuluai, Nuuausala, McIlorum, Sutton, Isa, Bateman, O’Loughlin.
Replacements: Clubb, Powell, Tautai, Wells.
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Keinhorst, Sutcliffe, Newman, Goldin, Lilley, Garbutt, Jones-Buchanan, Baldwinson, Ormondroyd, Ablett, Mullally.
Interchanges: Oledzki, Jordan-Roberts, Smith, Whiteley.
Referee: Ben Thaler
Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan
Date/Time: Friday 21st July 2017 – 20:00pm BST