Super League: Leeds Rhinos 16-20 Wigan Warriors
Leeds (12) 16
- Tries: Sinfield, Watkins, Vickery
- Goals: Sinfield 2
Wigan (20) 20
- Tries: Tomkins, Richards, Charnley
- Goals: Richards 4
Leaders Wigan ended Leeds Rhinos' 100% Magic Weekend record with an 11th successive victory in all competitions.
Sam Tomkins and Pat Richards did most of the damage, contributing a combined 16 points, with Josh Charnley also on the scoresheet for the Warriors.
Leeds battled gamely, matching Wigan for tries as Kevin Sinfield, Kallum Watkins and Joe Vickery all scored.
However, skipper Sinfield could only convert two of the scores to leave the Rhinos four points short.
Brian McDermott Leeds coach
“The try which Danny McGuire had ruled out was a very anal decision. Nobody was obstructed”
Having never been paired with the Warriors on Magic Weekend before, with preference previously given to derbies, this fiercest of battles was a perfect showpiece to the final day at the Etihad Stadium, and it lived up to the billing.
There was as much pre-match interest in the identity of the video referee, Ian Smith having replaced Steve Ganson following the previous evening's controversy during the Hull derby.
On the pitch, the ingredients were mouth-watering. Leeds were unbeaten in all six of their Magic Weekend outings, but paired with a Warriors side protecting their own unbeaten run.
Tomkins had missed the last two games against the Rhinos, which both ended in defeats. But he showed his value with the game's first try, touching down a sliding right-to-left move after a string of drop-outs when he gathered Iain Thornley's smart offload.
The forward power of Lee Mossop, Ben Flower and Sean O'Loughlin caused Leeds problems, although Michael McIlorum took that aggression a little too far when his shoulder hit sent Sinfield tumbling on the edge of the Wigan 10-metre line and the Rhinos skipper kicked the resulting penalty.
Having found some momentum, Leeds had referee Richard Silverwood signalling a try soon after when Zak Hardaker split the defence before passing back inside for Sinfield to touch down.
Super League top try scorers
- Sam Tomkins (Wigan) 22
- Josh Charnley (Wigan) 18
- Kieran Dixon (London Broncos) 15
- Joel Monaghan (Warrington) 15
- Jarrod Sammut (Bradford) 14
- Pat Richards (Wigan) 13
- Peter Fox (Wakefield) 12
- Tom Lineham (Hull) 12
- Shaun Lunt (Huddersfield) 12
- Ryan Atkins (Warrington) 11
- Ben Cockayne (Wakefield) 11
- Ben Crooks (Hull) 11
- Liam Farrell (Wigan) 11
- Brett Kearney (Bradford) 11
- Chris Riley (Warrington) 11
- Justin Carney (Castleford) 10
- David Hodgson (Hull K R) 10
- Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield) 10
- Iain Thornley (Wigan) 10
The lead lasted only a few minutes before sloppy handling from Ryan Bailey coughed up a set of six in the Rhinos 10 and, after Harrison Hansen and Mossop were held up, Sam Powell and Tomkins fizzed it wide to slip in Richards.
Wigan kept the score ticking over with a Richards penalty, but Leeds responded when Watkins held off several tacklers to ground in the corner, although Sinfield's touchline kick scraped agonisingly across the posts to leave them two short of parity.
In response, the Cherry and Whites finished the half strongly. First Richards thumped another two-pointer through the sticks and then Charnley burned down the right for a simple try.
Trailing 20-12 at the break, Leeds were expected to come out fighting but almost conceded a fourth score when Powell's wonderful step took him inside Watkins but a penalty was awarded for obstruction.
Watkins knocked on just short of the line at the other end and then amended for his error by touching beautifully to Vickery for a try wide on the right.
The breathless pace continued, Charnley almost beating Hardaker to the line only to be dragged to the deck and, once Sinfield turned over in centre-field, Hall was on hand to rescue Richards' cross-field kick with the Wigan attack looming.
Danny McGuire thought he had won it when he dummied through from Joel Moon's offload, but the try was chalked off for obstruction, as McGuire had run behind his own player.
Tomkins missed the penalty kick that would have put Wigan a converted score in front, but Leeds ran out of time.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Wigan coach Shaun Wane:
"I thought it was enjoyable to grind out a win when our attack was not at our best.
"We were solid defensively and aggressive. It would have been different if Blake Green had played, but it was enjoyable to beat a team like Leeds in an event like this in a quality stadium.
"They can always score. They have so much quality but tonight I was confident we could pull something out of the bag."
Leeds coach Brian McDermott:
"I think the try which Danny McGuire had ruled out was a very anal decision. Nobody was obstructed. It didn't have an effect. Whoever pressed the button probably understands the rules but doesn't understand the game.
"It's not the reason we lost though. I won't use it as an excuse for why we lost.
"It was an outstanding game, credit to Wigan they had more composure than we did, but I'm immensely proud. We had a couple of tough calls go against but everyone needs to be proud."
SUNDAY'S MAGIC WEEKEND LINE-UPS
Leeds: Hardaker; Vickery, Watkins, Moon, Hall; McGuire, Sinfield; Leuluai, Burrow, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Clarkson, Sutcliffe.
Replacements: McShane, Kirke, Achurch, Singleton.
Wigan: S Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Thornley, Richards; Powell, Smith; Flower, McIlorum, Mossop, Hansen, Farrell, O'Loughlin.
Replacements: Lauaki, Tuson, L Tomkins, Crosby.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (RFL).