Super League: Wigan Warriors too strong for Leeds Rhinos
Last Updated: 06/09/14 11:22am
Wigan moved into second place in the Super League table as they battled their way to a 21-6 victory over Leeds at the DW Stadium.
First-half tries from Joe Burgess and Matty Smith, who converted both scores and also kicked a penalty, gave the reigning champions a deserved 14-0 lead at the break.
The Rhinos threatened a comeback after the break when Liam Sutcliffe scored a scrappy try, but despite throwing everything at their hosts they were unable to get any closer.
Having had to stand firm in the face of some serious pressure, Wigan restored the 14-point gap when Ben Flower burst through a tired Leeds defence and it was Smith who rounded out the scoring, landing a last-second drop goal.
The result was the perfect way for head coach Shaun Wane to celebrate his 100th game in charge of the Cherry and Whites, as well as being an ideal response to last week's away loss to Widnes.
Leeds, meanwhile, have now lost four on the spin in Super League, a slump that looks likely to cost them a place in the top four heading into the playoffs.
Having been held scoreless in the second half of their home loss to St Helens a week ago, Brian McDermott's side failed to muster a point in an opening 40 minutes that saw them on the back foot.
Winger Burgess marked his return after missing the last five matches with a knee injury by getting on the end of Blake Green's clever grubber in behind the Leeds defence to break the deadlock in the left corner.
Smith landed the extras from out wide and then capitalised on a gift from Zak Hardaker to stretch Wigan's lead further, the Rhinos full-back seeing his floated pass picked off after he had been caught in possession on the last tackle.
The try scorer left himself with a simple kick at the posts, while he could even afford to slip when striking the penalty that was the final play before the hooter sounded.
Leeds lacked attacking intent without Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow, though they did finally break their barren run without scoring when Sutcliffe capitalised on Josh Charnley twice failing to deal with a loose ball on a free play.
Kevin Sinfield's superb conversion made it 14-6 and the Yorkshiremen were suddenly full of confidence, with the intensity levels on the field raised a notch or two again.
But Wigan were the team who crucially scored next, Michael McIlorum's short pass allowing Flower to get over. Smith added the extras and then also rubbed salt into the Rhinos' wounds with a late one-pointer.
Leeds have twice before been crowned champions from fifth in the table, and it looks like this year's Tetley's Challenge Cup winners may now have to do it the hard way again if they are to emulate Wigan and complete the double.
First Utility Super League
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants38 - 14Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings46 - 16Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield Wildcats22 - 40Wigan 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 WarriorsvsHull 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 DevilsvsHuddersfield 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 DevilsvsWidnes Vikings
Hull FCvsHull K R
Leeds RhinosvsWigan Warriors
Sun 31st May
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
St HelensvsWarrington Wolves
Castleford TigersvsWakefield 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
Thu 18th Jun
Castleford TigersvsSt Helens
Fri 19th Jun
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sat 20th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsWakefield Wildcats
Sun 21st Jun
Hull K R0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Super League 2014, Round 26
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