Jai Field hat-trick inspires Wigan to big win over Leeds – talking points

Drew Darbyshire
Jai Field Wigan

Jai Field in action for Wigan

Jai Field put in a man of the match performance as he scored a hat-trick to help Wigan to a 34-12 victory over Leeds at the DW Stadium. 

Matt Peet made one change to his Wigan side that won 24-10 at Hull KR in the opening round. Prop Ollie Partington replaced injured centre Iain Thornley.

Leeds coach Richard Agar was forced to ring the changes. James Bentley and Brad Dwyer copped four and one-match bans after last week’s 22-20 defeat to Warrington.

David Fusitu’a missed out due to the concussion return to play protocol, whilst Richie Myler faces a spell on the sidelines with a groin injury. Rhyse Martin has been granted compassionate leave to return home to Australia after the death of his father last week.

Off-season arrival Blake Austin made his Rhinos debut after serving his one-match ban. Liam Tindall, Alex Mellor, Bodene Thompson and Corey Johnson also came in for Leeds.

Austin opened the scoring for Leeds in the 10th minute as he stepped Liam Farrell to go over in front of the travelling contingent.

Blake Austin Leeds
Blake Austin of Leeds Rhinos celebrates his try

It looked like Leeds were going to extend their lead midway through the first half when speedster Liam Tindall made a break down the right wing, only for a great tackle from Field to force him into touch.

Field drew Wigan level in the 24th minute after the ball came off the boot of Jake Bibby. He converted his own try.

Australian full-back Field showed his lightning pace just before the break thanks to a good offload from John Bateman. Field’s conversion saw Wigan 12-6 ahead at half-time.

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HT: Wigan 12-6 Leeds

The Warriors got off to a fine start in the second half when hooker Sam Powell scored following a grubber from Kai Pearce-Paul.

And straight from kick-off Field again showed his pace as he rounded opposite number Jack Walker to finish a length of the field try.

Powell got his second and Wigan’s third inside 10 minutes of the second half restart after Walker spilled the ball on his own line.

Leeds prop Matt Prior pulled one back on the hour after powering over from close range. Aidan Sezer converted but they were still 16 points behind.

Peet’s men stretched their lead with seven minutes to go as a cheeky Cade Cust offload saw Farrell touch down.

Leeds winger Tindall was sin-binned late on for a holding Liam Marshall back when chasing the ball. Wigan finished 34-12 winners.

FT: Wigan Warriors 34-12 Leeds Rhinos

Wigan: Field; Hardaker, Pearce-Paul, Bibby, Marshall; Cust, Leuluai; Singleton, Powell, Ellis, Farrell, Bateman, Isa. Subs: Mago, Smithies, Byrne, Partington.

Tries: Field (3), Powell (2), Farrell Goals: Field 2, Hardaker 3

Leeds: Walker; Tindall, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Handley; Austin, Sezer; Tetevano, Leeming, Prior, Mellor, Gannon, Smith. Subs: Oledzki, Johnson, Donaldson, Thompson.

Tries: Austin, Prior Goals: Sezer 2

Talking points

Jai Field masterclass

What a performance. Wow. What an entertainer.

It is only the second round of the season but you’ll do well to see a better individual display this year than the one Jai Field put on tonight.

The 24-year-old struggled with injuries last season, which limited him to just four appearances.

This season he is back fully fit and looks ready to take Super League by storm. His tackle on Tindall in the first half was timed to perfection and he showed just how quick he is. He is one of those players you just love to watch when he’s got the ball in his hand. He has won the man of the match award two weeks running and it’s easy to see why.

Leeds’ second half

Agar’s side looked good in the first half and were unlucky to go into the break behind.

But the first 10 minutes of the second half killed them. Wigan scored three tries within the first 10 minutes of the second half restart to put the game out of reach for them.

The Rhinos were without a number of regulars but can take some positives away from that. Tindall looks a bright prospect and showed signs of promise with his carries out of yardage and his electric pace.

Leeds will need a big performance at Headingley next Thursday against Catalans Dragons.

Wigan’s powerful pack

Patrick Mago Wigan
Patrick Mago joined Wigan in the off-season

The Warriors got a roll on in the middle which laid a good platform for Cust, Tommy Leuluai and Field to do their thing.

Wigan have struggled a bit in the pack area compared to their rivals in the last couple of years. That’s not the case now.

The signings of NRL props Patrick Mago and Kaide Ellis in the off-season were needed and they’ve hit the ground running. The club’s youngsters also stepped up again and performed well, such as Ollie Partington, Liam Byrne and Morgan Smithies.

Wigan have two back-rowers who are aiming to be England’s starting pair at the World Cup in John Bateman and Farrell. They have started the season in good form.

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