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
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K RLiveSalford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield WildcatsvsHull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington WolvesvsWigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves
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.
- Smith demands improvements
- Wolves book Grand Final spot
- Wolves v Giants live!
- McGuire: Rhinos up for Wigan
- Warriors v Rhinos: Teams
- Giants season surprised Brough
- Wolves v Giants: Teams
- Fresh Warriors ready to go
- Morley backs Giants pick
- Wane confident of progress
- Anderson cool over Wolves call
- Wolves opt for Huddersfield