The Warriors proved to be too strong for the Rhinos, scoring six tries in a dominant performance. Here’s how events unfolded last night.
Leeds opened the scoring as Ash Handley went over following a Wigan mistake early on. But the Warriors put the error behind them and performed as well as they needed to against a Leeds side who were not without their fair share of mistakes.
Wigan took the lead following tries from Dan Sarginson and Ben Flower. Two more tries from Joe Greenwood and Joe Bullock gave Wigan a 22-12 lead at half-time. It seemed a second half George Williams try was the final nail in the coffin for Leeds, but a short kick-off, recovered by Konrad Hurrell, led to a Kallum Watkins try and some hope for Leeds. But the result was put beyond any doubt by Liam Farrell.
Leeds seemed to struggle at creating chances and this will be of concern to head coach David Furner. The usually reliable Richie Myler put a couple of high balls straight into touch and didn’t seem as in command of the Leeds attack as he was last season. Captain Kallum Watkins did not appear to be fully healthy after his horror knee injury last season, and struggled to keep up with the pace and physicality of the game. However, centre Konrad Hurrell showed why there was so much excitement around his arrival in Leeds, with a solid performance and powerful carrying throughout the game.
As for Wigan, former Leeds fullback Zak Hardaker was quiet, with his performance lacking the line breaking runs he is so well known for. Fan-favourite Williams picked up the man of the match award and it was duly deserved. His quick feet and methodical passing kept Wigan looking dangerous offensively and Leeds seemed to have no answer to him.
Adrian Lam’s side are now on 0 points after the win, having been deducted two points. Leeds are now 0-2 and sit bottom of the table, and Dave Furner may have to make some big changes in the near future.
Furner to keep tinkering
A big talking point before the game was that forward Brad Singleton had been included in Featherstone Rovers 19-man squad for this weekend. He was not involved for Leeds, having been a mainstay of the Leeds side last season. This shows that David Furner is not afraid to make changes where he sees fit. And after another disappointing performance, expect more changes next week.
Wigan keep winning without Wane
There was much speculation about how Wigan would cope with the departure of Shaun Wane at the end of last season. But Adrian Lam seems to have picked up where Wane left off. With a physical style of play and tough defence. The win showed there is still hope for Wigan fans, even after the departure of the hugely successful and popular Wane.
Leeds lack killer edge
Underwhelming offence disappointing many Rhinos fans last season, with the team seeming to get to the opposition’s try line and run out of ideas. The off-season signing of Tui Lolohea was supposed to bring more creativity to the Rhinos, but creation was a problem all game for Leeds. They also struggled with execution, with too many knock-ons and mistakes in good attacking positions.
Wigan have a chance next Sunday
This win will surely put some serious confidence in the Wigan side as they prepare to take on Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge next Sunday. The Warriors will get to test themselves against world superstars like Cooper Cronk and Boyd Cordner. If they play with the same physicality and discipline on Sunday, the game will be extremely close.
Wigan Warriors 34
Tries: Sarginson, Flower, Greenwood Bullock, Williams, Farrell
Goals: Hardaker (5)
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds Rhinos 16
Tries: Handley, Ferres, Watkins
Goals: Lolohea (2)
Drop Goals: n/a
Wigan Warriors: Hardaker, Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall, Williams, Leuluai, Clubb, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Farrell, O’Loughlin.
Interchanges: Navarette, Isa, Hamlin, Bullock.
Leeds Rhinos: Walker Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Peteru, Dwyer, Merrin, Ferres, Sutcliffe, Ward.
Interchanges: Parcell, Cuthbertson, Donaldson, Oledzki.