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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Wigan Warriors 22 Leeds Rhinos 12

27th September 2013

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos bowed out of the 2013 season with a 22-12 defeat at Wigan but they showed the bravery and spirit Leeds fans have come to expect from their side.

Leeds Rhinos arrive at DW Stadium knowing they are just 80 minutes away from a return to Old Trafford. However, they face a full strength Wigan side, with the exception of the long-term injured Sean O'Loughlin, who have had a fortnight to prepare for the game after their demolition of League Leaders Huddersfield on the Giants own patch. 

WP – Home MPU

The Rhinos are without Brett Delaney with a groin injury and his place in the side is taken by Chris Clarkson, who starts off the bench with Ryan Bailey at loose forward. 

Wigan have made two changes from the side that defeated the Giants with Anthony Gelling and Andy Powell out of the side and Darrell Goulding and Gil Dudson coming in their place.

On the bench, Logan Tomkins completes the subs after missing the previous win.

With a place at the Grand Final at stake, this was always going to be a tense affair and the first half was played at a frenetic pace with both teams looking to strike the killer blow.

Leeds started the game in great form and could have opened the scoring after just two minutes. Joel Moon had forced an error from Sam Tomkins at the end of the first set of the game just twenty metres from the Wigan line and the Rhinos then moved the ball wide and Ben Jones-Bishop stretched out to score in the corner. The decision went to video referee Ian Smith and he correctly judged that the winger had lost control of the ball as he tried to ground it.

Wigan’s first real attack on the Leeds line came from the first penalty of the game just inside their half. They eventually moved the ball along the backline and stretched the Leeds defence before Pat Richards passed back inside to Iain Thornley and the former Leeds Carnegie player had a simple task of touching down. Richards added the conversion from near the touchline to make it 6-0 after seven minutes.

The remainder of the half saw defence on top with some bone crunching hits and crucial last ditch challenges to prevent long range breaks. Wigan had the majority of possession but their best chance came when Tomkins broke clear on half way however Ryan Hall dealt with the towering bomb 15 metres from his line to stop the chance.

Leeds then nearly went the length of the field when Moon latched onto a loose ball at the end of a Wigan set near the Rhinos line and raced 40 metres up field. He passed to Hall, who cut back infield but was hauled down 25m from the Wigan line.

Soon after came one of the moments of the match, Leeds were on the attack but the ball came loose and winger Richards picked up the ball and sprinted down the wing. He evaded two desperate tackles and looked certain to go all the way only for prop Ian Kirke to come galloping across the field and tackle man and ball 30 metres from the Leeds line. Wigan still looked threatening but Blake Green’s kick on the last was too strong and went harmlessly out of play to leave the score set at 6-0 at half time.

Leeds made the perfect start to the second half. A great break from Mitch Achurch set the tone and that was followed up by Carl Ablett down the opposite flank, as he burst through and raced up field. Moon and Rob Burrow were in hot pursuit and Ablett coolly passed to Moon to give the centre the try. Sinfield added the conversion to level the game at 6-6 after 46 minutes.

However, after that Wigan took a strangle hold on the game and booked their place at Old Trafford. They took the lead when Liam Farrell cut back through a gap and, despite the best efforts of Ablett, he managed to get the ball down. Richards added the conversion.

Wigan then took a crucial two score lead when Ablett tried desperately to gather a grubber kick to the in goal but could only parry it into the path of Darrell Goulding, who touched down. Richards was on target again to make it 18-6 with 20 minutes to go.

Leeds had a chance to hit back almost immediately when Moon produced a sensational break but, having beaten Sam Tomkins with his run, he had the ball knocked from his grasp by Harrison Hansen into touch. Wigan got the scrum and chance had gone.

Wigan then secured the victory with seven minutes to go when Josh Charnley crossed. Richards missed the conversion and a subsequent penalty but time had run out for the Rhinos.

They never threw in the towel however and Liam Sutcliffe, one of the six teenagers who have made their debuts this season, fittingly scored the final try of the season, supporting the break of Ablett. Sinfield adding the conversion.

The spirit of the team was demonstrated yet again in the final moments when a lesser team may have conceded a late try to Wigan as they attacked the Leeds line but, despite their season being over along with the dream of a third successive title, they remained firm and held them out until the final hooter. Heroes one and all.

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