The Rhinos Junior Academy went down to a 34-18 defeat at Wigan on Saturday in a repeat of last year's Grand Final.
The Rhinos Junior Academy went down to a 34-18 defeat at Wigan on Saturday in a repeat of last year's Grand Final. Wigan opened the scoring after 15 minutes, after four consecutive sets finally took its toll on the defence. The Leeds cover did not deal with a kick through from Sam Tompkins, the ball ran free and Ross Bradley was on hand to touch down. Josh Veivers conversion attempt drifting across the front of the posts. The Rhinos were struggling to get any decent field position as time and time again the Warriors broke through the Leeds defensive line. A superb covering effort from Ryan Hall saving another four points. But it was the home side that struck again on 32 minutes when the pressure told again, Chris Gerard found Bradley and his offload found Shaun Ainscough who just managed to touch down in the corner. Veivers conversion attempted landed short. And somehow Leeds went into half time only 8 points down. Leeds were still in the game but it was the home side that stamped their authority on the match with four tries in the opening 13 minutes of the second half. First with 43 minutes on the watch, Ross Bradley stood in the tackle and was allowed to offload to Sam Tompkins. He found the gap in the defence and had Liam Farrell on hand to go over, the on the next set Chris Gerard put Chris Tuson through a huge hole in the Leeds defensive line, that man Farrell was in support again to get his second try. Veivers converted both and suddenly it was 20-0. Wigan hammered home their advantage, after Liam Brown was penalised while in possession for kicking out, the Warriors spread the ball wide from the tap restart as Tompkins released Vievers. He had Bradley on his outside and the centre just got in at the corner to register his second try of the afternoon. Wigan were making breaks regularly now and it was Lee Mossop who set up the field position. On the last tackle the ball ended up in the hands of Luke Roden and he sidestepped the Leeds defence and barged over by the posts. Vievers could only convert the second try but Leeds were 30-0 down and looking like they would end up on the wrong side of a lot of points. Credit to the Rhinos though, they never gave up trying and finally breached the Wigan defence after 59 minutes. From a scrum on the Wigan 40 the ball was moved left as Luke Gale found Jody Broughton. He got on the outside of Chris Gerard to go down the touchline, after a desperate ankle tap from Stewart Howarth failed to stop him as he moved infield to make the angle easier for Luke Gale to convert. The Rhinos though went to sleep as Wigan were allowed to take a quick kick off by the referee. They recovered the ball and moved downfield quickly and while the Leeds defence was still reorganising it was Howarth who went on the short side and his pass out of the back door sent Adam Hunt in at the corner. Veivers conversion again fell short but the Warriors were 34-6 up. Leeds though still didn't stop trying and two late tries gave the score a rather flattering look. Firstly on 74 minutes an offload from Joe Chandler found Luke Gale and the stand off stepped his way through the Wigan line to touch down and with two minutes left Gale turned creator and his cross field kick went over the head of Shaun Ainscough and Ryan Hall was on hand to touch down in the corner. Gale converted both to leave the Warriors 34-18 victors. For Leeds it was their first defeat since losing at home to Bradford at Easter. Ben Jones again was impressive for Leeds and Mike Ratu's defensive effort was massive. The SouthStander.com man of the match went to Jody Broughton for his all round efforts in the game. The Junior Academy are back in action in two weeks time when they travel to Belle Vue to take on the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Saturday 24th June. Kick off is 2.30pm By Matt Horton
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