Leeds are not on their own

Before last night, you’d have struggled to find someone with a belief that the Leeds juggernaut was anything but in full flow. But following Wigan’s determined display that resulted in a 14-10 win for the Warriors, consigning Rhinos to their first home defeat of the season, the rest of Super League may just be starting to believe that Leeds aren’t as invincible as they have been made out to be.nnChristopher Irvine makes an interesting comparison between this World Club Challenge-winning Leeds team and their counterparts of 2005. In that year, the Rhinos were seemingly invincible until a defeat to St Helens rocked the boat a little bit. It took a battering by Bradford in August before the wheels started to come off, as the Rhinos lost their grip on the league leaders shield, before falling to defeat in both the Challenge Cup Final and the Grand Final.nnIrvine draws parallels between the 2005 campaign and how the 2008 campaign has gone so far. Castleford defeated Leeds back in Round 5, yet that game remains their only win of the season to date. Defeats of Melbourne Storm and last season’s World Champions St Helens, amongst others, have only gone to enhance Leeds’ status at the top of the tree, but last night, Wigan might have just found a vulnerability that some other Super League teams will be eager to take advantage of.nnThe win also saw Wigan shoot down the theory that they are a one man team, as they picked up the two points without arguably the best player in Super League, Trent Barrett, and instead gave the opportunity to a young Thomas Coyle to show his potential.nnWigan’s production line over the years has been second to none, but where teams like Leeds and St Helens are filled with homegrown youngsters (the likes of Burrow, McGuire, Sinfield, Jones-Buchanan and Roby, Graham, Eastmond), Wigan’s youngsters for the main part are plying their trade elsewhere.nnHuddersfield are one of the main beneficiaries of Wigan’s reluctance to stick by their own home grown players, as they currently boast no less than six ex-Wigan academy players in their squad – Wild, Aspinwall, Brown, Robinson, Hodgson and Jones. In fact, if you look at the players Wigan have let go over the years, you’d have to wonder if the Warriors would have been a bit more successful in recent times.nnHere’s a team made up of players from the Wigan production line:nn1. Shaun Briscoen2. Martin Aspinwalln3. Paul Johnsonn4. Stephen Wildn5. David Hodgsonn6. Kevin Brownn7. Luke Robinsonn8. Paul Prescottn9. Mark Smithn10. Bryn Hargreavesn11. Bob Beswickn12. Gareth Hockn13. Sean O’LoughlinnnNow imagine that team with just Trent Barrett, Pat Richards and Iafeta Palea’aesina. Interesting.

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