Super League: Wigan Warriors beat Leeds Rhinos to reach Grand Final
Last Updated: 27/09/13 10:48pm
Wigan's Gil Dudson escapes the attentions of Carl Ablett and Ryan Bailey
Wigan will face Warrington in next week's Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford after beating Leeds 22-12 at the DW Stadium.
The Rhinos were bidding to reach an eighth Grand Final in 10 years but this was a game too far for the champions, who battled typically bravely but just did not have enough in the tank after last week's gruelling victory over St Helens.
By contrast Wigan had enjoyed a week off and ultimately that made the key difference as the game wore on.
Wigan had not beaten Leeds at home since February 2012 but dominated possession from the off as they aimed to avenge last season's defeat to the Rhinos on this ground at the corresponding stage last year.
Leeds actually created the first chance of the match as Ben Jones-Bishop just failed to get in at the corner after three minutes.
But that was the only time the champions threatened the Wigan line in the opening 40 minutes, although some heroic defending prevented Wigan from going further than 6-0 ahead at the break.
That try arrived after just six minutes as Carl Ablett's high shot gifted Wigan good field position and after slick passing, Pat Richards' inside ball put Iain Thornley in, with Richards converting from the touchline.
For the rest of the half Leeds were almost permanently in survival mode.
Zac Hardaker knocked on a high bomb inside his own 20 and then Danny McGuire was caught in possession on the sixth tackle, but both times Leeds survived.
Just before the half Richards broke 70 metres upfield but was caught by Ian Kirke and the attack ended with a poor kick from Blake Green into the in-goal area.
Wigan had now not conceded in more than 80 minutes of play-off rugby but four minutes into the second half Leeds hit back, almost out of nowhere.
Ablett shrugged off Harrison Hansen and burst through the middle, then delayed his pass perfectly for Joel Moon to score.
Sinfield converted for 6-6 and with Leeds' incredible record of play-off wins against the odds, alarm bells must have been ringing in the Wigan ranks.
But within five minutes Wigan were ahead again, after a poor pass from Mitch Aitchurch forced McGuire to knock on and five tackles later Liam Farrell was put over by Richards, who converted for 12-6.
Just before the hour Wigan had breathing space after Kallum Watkins knocked on in his own 20 and Matty Smith's kick through was knocked on by Ablett into the arms of Darrell Goulding for a simple try, with Richards adding the extras.
Leeds' final chance came moments later as Joel Moon raced for the corner, only for Harrison Hansen to dislodge the ball with a try-saving tackle.
Josh Charnley made the game safe for Wigan after Smith sidestepped through a desperately tired defence, before Liam Sutcliffe had the last word for Leeds with Wigan minds already turning to Old Trafford.
First Utility Super League
Sun 12th Apr
Salford Red Devils18 - 28Leeds Rhinos
Huddersfield Giants8 - 11St Helens
Wigan Warriors34 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Apr
Wigan Warriors30 - 20Warrington Wolves
Fri 17th Apr
St Helens16 - 41Leeds Rhinos
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield WildcatsvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds RhinosvsWarrington Wolves
St Helens0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans DragonsvsHull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 30th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Hull FC0 - 0Hull K R
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Wigan Warriors
Sun 31st May
Catalans Dragons0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
St Helens0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Thu 4th Jun
Widnes VikingsvsHull FC
Fri 5th Jun
St Helens0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sun 7th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wigan Warriors
Hull K R0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 11th Jun
Leeds RhinosvsCastleford Tigers
Fri 12th Jun
St HelensvsWigan Warriors
Sat 13th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsHull FC
Sun 14th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Hull K R0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Super League 2013, play-off semi-finals
The best of the pictures as Warrington and Wigan secured their places in the Grand Final
Matty Smith is relishing taking on Warrington in next Saturday's Grand Final following Wigan's 22-12 win over Leeds.
Warrington forward Simon Grix believes the disappointment of losing last year's Grand Final will spur them on this time.
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