- Match Report as Wigan Warriors are defeated by Leeds Rhinos in the Play-Off Eliminator Game.
- The Warriors were held to nil at the DW Stadium on Thursday night – ending their 2021 season.
- FT | Wigan Warriors 0-8 Leeds Rhinos.
Wigan Warriors were held scoreless by Leeds Rhinos to see their 2021 season come to a disappointing end at the DW Stadium on Thursday evening.
Both teams were set-for-set throughout to see a stalemate at the half time break, but a converted score by Ash Handley and a penalty goal from Rhyse Martin were enough to see Leeds take the win and progress to the Play-Off Semi Finals.
The Warriors made six changes from last week’s win over Catalans Dragons as Liam Marshall, Brad Singleton, Sam Powell, John Bateman, Liam Farrell and Morgan Smithies all returned to the starting line-up.
Jackson Hastings and Oliver Gildart were set for their final gam at the DW Stadium as they both move to Wests Tigers in 2021. It was also Adrian Lam’s final game in charge of the Warriors at home.
It was a tight opening 10 minutes with both sides going set for set, Leeds were handed a couple of penalties after a duo of high shots but the resulting sets came to nothing for the visitors. Gildart came closest for the Warriors in the early stages, but the centre lost his footing as he tried to switch the play and Leeds had the ball back on their own goal line.
Both teams had good chances down the edges but Zak Hardaker – just short of going into touch – saw his offload go straight into the hands of the Rhinos before a sharp move up the other end saw Richie Myler pass the ball forward to give possession back to the Warriors.
With 25 minutes played Wigan had their best chance of the half, a kick on the last going diagonal to the right edge but Willie Isa was beaten to the spiralling ball and the game remained scoreless.
With five minutes left on the clock in the first half, Wigan went close again as Harry Smith kicked through, chased by Hardaker who couldn’t collect as the bounce took the ball behind the full back and Handley was able to scoop the loose ball up before Bateman.
With the play remaining end-to-end, the half time hooter rang to end a scoreless but entertaining first 40 in the Betfred Super League Semi Final Eliminator game.
Five minutes into the second half Smith sent up a testing high bomb on the last which was spilled forward by Myler to give Wigan possession from 20m out. The Warriors went close through Bateman who was stopped just short of the line but the grubber kick through from Hastings to end the set went straight into the hands of a Leeds player to overturn the momentum once more.
The Warriors asked questions of the Rhinos again with a penalty taking them past the half way line and into Leeds territory. Bateman ran it into the centre to try and send Smith but the stand off couldn’t get clean hands on the ball.
Leeds opened the score in the 50th minute, a testing high kick not dealt with by the Warriors to see Handley touch down in the left hand corner. Martin added the extras from the left edge to see the Rhinos into a 6-0 lead.
The visitors had a second test of the Wigan defensive line just moments later, Martin running it himself before firing a pass out to the right which was fumbled forward to see Wigan back with the ball.
Wigan were asking questions of the Rhinos as the clock ticked past the hour mark. The Cherry and Whites running the play right to left after a good half break from Smithies, and a grubber through for Gildart and Marshall was wrapped up by Leeds to keep Wigan out.
With 10 minutes to go Leeds worked into good position just short of the Wigan goal line, Kruise Leeming held back for the drop goal attempt but it sailed just wide of the uprights to keep the score at 6-0 in an enthralling game.
Leeds were awarded a penalty 10m out after Oliver Partington was adjudged to have stripped the ball, RMartin slotted over the penalty goal to give Leeds the 8-0 advantage with minutes to go.
Despite attempts to get through the Leeds line, Wigan were unable to post any points and fell to defeat at the DW. The Warriors’ season is now over, with the Rhinos moving into the Play-Off Semi Finals.
Wigan Warriors: Zak Hardaker, Jake Bibby, Willie Isa, Oliver Gildart, Liam Marshall, Harry Smith, Jackson Hastings, Brad Singleton, Sam Powell, Oliver Partington, John Bateman, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies.
Interchanges: Liam Byrne, Ethan Havard, Kai Pearce-Paul, Joe Shorrocks.
Leeds Rhinos: Richie Myler, Luke Briscoe, Harry Newman, Tom Briscoe, Ash Handley, Robert Lui, Kruise Leeming, Bodene Thompson, Brad Dwyer, Matt Prior, James Donaldson, Rhyse Martin, Zane Tetevano.
Interchanges: Mikolaj Oledzki, Konrad Hurrell, Tom Holroyd, Cameron Smith.
Tries: Handley (50′)
Goals: Martin 2/2
Referee: Robert Hicks