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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Wigan Warriors 22 Leeds Rhinos 28

18th May 2002

By Leeds Rhinos

Late tries from wingmen Karl Pratt and Mark Calderwood earned Leeds victory in a heart-stopping Super League Roses showdown over Wigan.

The lead changed hands six times before the Rhinos finished with a flurry to claim their first-ever success at the JJB Stadium, scene of their Challenge Cup humiliation by St Helens five weeks earlier.

WP – Home MPU

The gripping end to a thrilling contest ended Wigan's six-match winning run on the anniversary of the appointment of Stuart Raper as head coach and they will quickly need to re-group before they take on leaders Bradford Bulls next week.

Wigan had dominated the first half but found themselves trailing 12-10 at the interval after gifting Leeds two tries.

The Warriors' generosity was in evidence after only 58 seconds when winger Brett Dallas lost the ball in a two-man tackle 10 metres out from his own line and Rhinos stand-off Kevin Sinfield reacted quickly to get Calderwood over for the first of his two tries.

The Warriors looked to have got their act together as they established a 10-6 lead only to let the Rhinos back in just before the break.

Usually reliable full-back Kris Radlinski had the misfortune to see the ball bounce off his knee as he attempted to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation and the ball rolled kindly for Leeds centre Keith Senior to pick up and stroll over for his side's second try.

Ben Walker's second goal edged the visitors to a lead that hardly looked likely once Wigan settled down after their shaky start.

With lively scrum-half Adrian Lam pulling the strings, the Warriors swarmed all over the Yorkshiremen without turning possession and territorial advantage into points.

They could manage only two points while Leeds were temporarily down to 12 men following the early sin-binning of centre Tonie Carroll for dissent.

It was Lam's superb break which set up Radlinski for Wigan's only try but Andy Farrell kicked three goals to keep his side in the ascendancy until Senior's fortuitous score.

It was ironic that both Leeds' tries stemmed from the accurate boot of scrum-half Ryan Sheridan, with Raper threatening to bombard Rhinos' new full-back Ben Walker with high kicks.

Sheridan pointed the way for the visitors with a clever tactical kicking game while Wigan was left to rue their inability to make more of some promising build-up play.

Both sides missed glorious try-scoring opportunities in a frenzied opening to the second half.

Wigan failed to make use of a clear overlap created by another searing run from Lam when second rower Stuart Jones dropped the ball 10 metres out from the line.

Carroll picked up the loose ball and went 60 metres before being hauled down by the pacy Dallas, who made amends for his earlier howler but earned a spell in the sin bin for holding his man down in the tackle.

Wigan regained the lead on 48 minutes when second rower Stephen Wild, who had just emerged from a spell in the blood bin, forced his way past Adrian Vowles for his side's second try, and Farrell kicked his fourth goal.

But the lead changed hands twice more in quick succession as fortunes swung one way and then the other.

First Rhinos substitute Pratt got a touch to another clever Sheridan grubber kick only for Wigan centre David Hodgson to crash over and enable Farrell to give the home side a 22-18 advantage going into the final quarter.

Hodgson then had a second try disallowed for a knock-on earlier in the move and the lead changed hands for a sixth and final time when Vowles dummied his way through a chink in the Wigan defence.

Leeds then sealed a precious win eight minutes from the end when Calderwood crossed at the corner for his second try after Vowles had made the decisive long pass.

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