The Rhinos came back from 12-0 down early in the first half to record a resounding 48-22 win over a Wigan side that now find themselves rooted to the bottom of the engage Super League.
The Rhinos came back from 12-0 down early in the first half to record a resounding 48-22 win over a Wigan side that now find themselves rooted to the bottom of the engage Super League. Wigan had a fortnight to prepare for this clash at Headingley Carnegie thanks to their earlier exit from the Powergen Challenge Cup however the Rhinos faced a five day turnaround in hot temperatures at Headingley Carnegie. Danny McGuire was rested for the Rhinos allowing Kevin Sinfield to revert to stand off and Willie Poching slotted in at loose forward. The Rhinos had a couple of early chances as they made good field position in the Wigan half. However, it was Wigan who opened the scoring after eight minutes. Play was just on half way when their was an appeal from the Rhinos of a knock on however referee Richard Silverwood said it was a Leeds hand that had knocked the ball down and wiped the tackle count clean. Danny Orr didn't need a second invitation and he burst through the cover and sprinted to the corner. Smith and Williams both gave chase but Orr was just able to ground the ball as they tackled him. Tickle added the conversion to make it 6-0. Danny Williams had to make a brilliant last ditch tap tackle to stop Pat Richards after 15 minutes to keep the visitors to just the one score. Chris Ashton made a fantastic tackle on Lee Smith after 21 minutes to maintain that lead. The Rhinos had been pressing hard and a great offload to Smith 7 metres out seemed to have set up a certain score. But Ashton made a ball and all tackle before driving his opposite number back ten metres. In the next set the same man doubled the visitors lead when he supported the break of Orr to score next to the posts. Tickle added the conversion to make it 12-0 after 23 minutes. The Rhinos needed a moment of inspiration to get them going and it came from Rob Burrow, who darted passed former Rhino Nathan MacAvoy to sprint clear then, just as he was about to be tackled by Ashton, he flicked a pass back inside to the supporting Donald to score. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 12-6. Leeds levelled the scores after 33 minutes with a sensational piece of skill by Willie Poching. He took the ball up 20 metres out before chipping over the defence with his instep, collecting the bouncing ball running backwards and passing to Danny Williams to score. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 12-12. The Leeds players were then angered when referee Silverwood looked to have denied Kevin Sinfield a 40:20 kick. The players were adament but Silverwood seemed unclear even after checking with both touch judges, and then awarded the scrum to Wigan. However, it was only a brief respite for the visitors. Two minutes later Rob Burrow ducked under some loose defending to score from close range to give the Rhinos the lead for the first time. Sinfield again converted to make it 18-12 with half time approaching. However there was still time for another score and the Rhinos hit straight from the restart. Danny Williams made a great break down the wing before passing over his head one handed to Keith Senior who out sprinted Pat Richards to score by the posts. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 24-12 at half time. The Rhinos got off to the best possible start with a try inside the first minute. Wigan managed to knock on the kick off and two tackles later Ali Lauitiiti barged his way over for the Rhinos fifth try of the night. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 30-12. Having been denied what looked like a definite 40:20 in the first half the Rhinos were then awarded a dubious one off a kick from Shane Millard. However, they were not going to hang about arguing and quickly packed down. Poching fed Chev Walker who powered his way over from close range. Sinfield added a great conversion to make it 36-12 after 45 minutes. Wigan struck back four minutes later when Ashton made the initial break, he was tackled by Smith but managed to offload to Richards to score in the corner. Dobson added the conversion to make it 36-18. However it was not long before the Rhinos were back in the ascendency and it was Ali Lauitiiti who was the creater. Just like last week against Quins, he used his unbelievable skill to gift a try to Jamie Jones-Buchanan from a metre out. Sinfield added the conversion. Anything Ali could do Chev Walker proved he could match with a sublime catch and pass in one movement to set up Scott Donald for the next try. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 48-18 after 64 minutes. Wigan then got a try back after 70 minutes in controversial circumstances. Tickle appeared to knock on under pressure from Senior but the referee adjudged Senior had knocked the ball out and allowed the touch down by Darrell Goulding to stand. The conversion was missed by Tickle so it remained 48-22. Leeds: Smith, Donald, Walker, Senior, Williams, Sinfield, Burrow, Jones-Buchanan, Diskin, Scruton, Peacock, Ellis, Poching. Subs: Lauitiiti, Millard, Feather, O'Neill Wigan: Ashton, Dallas, McAvoy, Goulding, Richards, Orr, Dobson, Fletcher, Higham, Logan, Tickle, Hock, O'Loughlin. Subs: Paleaaesina, Godwin, O'Carroll, Hill. Referee: Richard Silverwood Attendance: 14,989
Leeds Rhinos star Ben Jones-Bishop admitted he was surprised by all the attention his return to action generated but admitted he was pleased to get his comeback out of the way, especially with an early try to help his team to victory.
18-year-old Jordan Baldwinson paid tribute to his former amateur club Hunslet Warriors after he made his debut for the Rhinos in the win over Widnes, an achievement he said he had dreamt about since he was eight.