Wigan move closer to top five with win over Leeds – talking points & ratings

Wigan are now just two points off the top five after beating Leeds 23-14 at Emerald Headingley.

The Warriors are joint sixth with Wakefield and are behind fifth-placed Castleford by just two points.

Leeds interim coach Richard Agar named an unchanged side from their win at Wakefield last week.

Adrian Lam made four changes to his Wigan outfit that beat Hull KR last time out. Zak Hardaker, Ben Flower, Jake Shorrocks and Taulima Tautai were missing.

Chris Hankinson, Romain Navarrete, Jarrod Sammut and Ollie Partington came in for the Warriors.

Leeds took the lead thanks to a penalty goal from Liam Sutcliffe, before Oliver Gildart scored the game’s first try in the 20th minute.

Two penalty goals from Hankinson edged Wigan into a 10-2 advantage, but Adam Cuthbertson went over on the half hour mark to reduce the deficit.

Sam Powell kicked his second field goal in as many as weeks as he gave the Warriors an 11-8 lead at the break.

Leeds went in front in the second half as Trent Merrin crossed the whitewash, but their lead didn’t last long as Wigan front-rower Partington bulldozed his way over.

It was a nervy finish to the game but Tony Clubb sealed the win for the Warriors with an uncharacteristic 30-metre break at the death. Hankinson added his fifth goal of the night to wrap up a good 23-14 win for the Warriors.

Three talking points

Write Wigan off at your peril

It would take a very bold person to bet against Wigan in any game, purely because they never give up and know exactly how to win an arm wrestle.

Lam’s side have been nowhere near their best this season, granted – but they should not be written off in terms of reaching the Super League Grand Final.

Wigan are just two points away from being in the top five. It would take a very good display to stop St Helens this year but Wigan know how to get up for big games and they know how to grind wins out.

Discipline let Leeds down

It was a decent performance from Leeds and on another day, they could have been the winning side. Their forwards were excellent, particularly Merrin and Ava Seumanufagai.

But their discipline as a team was shocking. They dropped the ball countless times but that could be forgiven considering the wet conditions.

However, giving penalties away can’t be forgiven. Wigan marched up the field several times on the back of a Leeds penalty. The Rhinos’ effort was certainly there, but their discipline cost them the two points.

Both hookers outstanding

The performances of Warrior Sam Powell and Rhino Brad Dwyer were truly remarkable. Powell made almost 50 tackles in the game and fully deserved his man of the match accolade.

Dwyer mustn’t have been far behind Powell in the man of the match voting, surely? He will no doubt be rewarded with some Steve Prescott Man of Steel points on Monday.

Powell has been Wigan’s hero two weeks running. The England Knights international is a dominant workhorse and is an underrated player in Lam’s outfit.

Line-ups and ratings

Leeds: Lolohea (7); T Briscoe (6), Hurrell (7), Newman (8), Handley (6); Sutcliffe (6), Myler (6); Singleton (7), Dwyer (9), Seumanufagai (8), Watkins (7), Ferres (6), Merrin (8). Subs: Smith (7), Donaldson (6), Cuthbertson (7), Oledzki (N/A).

Tries: Cuthbertson, Merrin Goals: Sutcliffe 2/2, Lolohea 1/1

Wigan: Sarginson (8); Marshall (7), Hankinson (8), Gildart (7), Burgess (7); Williams (7), Leuluai (7); Navarrete (7), Powell (9), Clubb (8), Isa (7), Farrell (7), O’Loughlin (8). Subs: Bullock (7), Partington (7), Sammut (N/A), Smithies (7).

Tries: Gildart, Partington, Clubb Goals: Hankinson 5/5 Drop Goals: Powell 1

Attendance: 13,105

Drew’s views

Despite both sides being below par this season, the game turned out to be a classic Leeds-Wigan encounter. It had a bit of everything and it would have been a great game for the neutral to watch.

Wigan can’t be written off yet. They know how to handle big occasions and having Liam Farrell back in the ranks certainly helps Lam’s side. He has a big presence on the field for the Warriors.

And the champions need to get a new deal sorted for Sean O’Loughlin as soon as possible. He might be 36 but he is still one of the best players in Super League.

Elsewhere in Super League

St Helens thrashed Huddersfield Giants 38-2 at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Lachlan Coote, Jonny Lomax (2), Tommy Makinson (3) and Theo Fages scored for Saints.

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