Leeds Rhinos 8 vs Wigan Warriors 50
Super League: 1st June 2012
Wigan effortlessly overcame the absence of a full pack of forwards to humiliate the defending champions Leeds and stretch their lead at the top of the Super Leagueto three points. The Warriors were in ruthless mood, much to the delight of Wigan fan Rio Ferdinand, who was among the 16,113 Headingley crowd to marvel at the skills of Sam Tomkins and company.
Even the Wigan coach Shaun Wane was taken aback by his side’s rout against a desperately disappointing Rhinos team to make it 11 wins in a row. “If I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t expect us to score that many points,” Wane said. “I would have been happy with a win.
“I think under the circumstances, it’s the best we’ve played this year. We had people out with injury and suspension and people playing with injuries but with the players showing character to come to a place like this, it was a great effort.
“All my senior players stood up – they were great for me today – but I need to give special mention to the people who stepped up, Dom Crosby and Rhodri Lloyd.”
The full-back Tomkins, the man identified before kick-off by the Leeds coach Brian McDermott as the biggest threat, justified the call with a sparkling display while the winger Josh Charnley contributed 18 points with a try and seven goals. With players like Gareth Hock, Harrison Hansen and Pat Richards to come into the side, Wane warned that the best is yet to come from the league leaders. “I don’t want to sound arrogant or big-headed but we’ve not got that consistent killer instinct yet, although it will come,” he said. “The players know I am hard to satisfy and they buy into that.”
Leeds winger Ryan Hall scored a try in each half but the Rhinos were outclassed and, after a second consecutive home defeat left them languishing in seventh place, they have little time to dwell on their sorry plight with a trip to Warrington next up.
The champions could even find themselves out of the top eight by Sunday evening if other results go against them.
“Wigan were on fire,” McDermott said. “They gained some momentum early in the game and built on it. “Tonight wasn’t good enough. We’re not where we need to be and we haven’t been for a while.”
The match began badly for Leeds, with Carl Ablett knocking on from the kick-off . That set the tone as Wigan ran in five first-half tries. The prop Jeff Lima opened the scoring, although replays suggested he may have lost control of the ball.
There was no doubting Tomkins’ quality as he sent the supporting Liam Farrell over four minutes later. As the visitors continued to impress, the winger Josh Charnley and the second rower Jack Hughes had further tries disallowed by the video referee Ian Smith but Leeds briefly stemmed the tide when the wing Ryan Hall grabbed his 16th try of the season, courtesy of McGuire’s long pass. But even when the Wigan coach Shaun Wane began to rotate his forwards, there was little sign of any letup as Sean O’Loughlin took Brett Finch’s short pass to cross for a third try, to which Charnley added a third goal to make it 18-4.
Tomkins then carved open the home defence to set the centre George Carmont sprinting over before the scrum-half Thomas Leuluai .
Leeds had lost McGuire to injury by then and their fortunes went from bad to worse in the second half. Darrell Goulding sent Charnley over unopposed for his 21st try of the season and Tomkins set up scores for the wing Anthony Gelling and Leuluai either side of another Hall try.
The stand-off Brett Finch rounded off the rout by collecting Rhinos hooker Shaun Lunt’s kick to score his side’s ninth try.
Summary: Fantastic Video: Wigan effortlessly overcame the absence of a full pack of forwards to humiliate the defending champions Leeds and stretch their lead at the top of the Super League to three points.