Warriors win League Leaders
- Match Report as Wigan Warriors beat Leigh Leopards to secure the League Leaders’ Shield.
- Jai Field and Jake Wardle scored first half tries to secure the win.
- FT | Leigh Leopards 6-10 Wigan Warriors.
Wigan Warriors won 10-6 to confirm top spot and claim the League Leaders Shield.
Harry Smith made his 100th appearance for the Warriors as Wigan took a lead into the break after first half scores from Jai Field and Jake Wardle but a late score for the Leopards from Lachlan Lam reduced the deficit to 10-6.
An arm wrestle in the second half saw both sides have efforts denied for obstruction as the game ended 10-6, confirming a League Leaders’ Shield victory for the Warriors.
The weather played its part in the early stages as handling errors from Charnley and Gildart allowed Wigan the ball but Leigh had the best chance in the opening 10 minutes as Gareth O’Brien slipped the defence to race away before Harry Smith got a tackle in to keep the Leopards out.
Jai Field opened the scoring for the Warriors in the 18th minute, shrugging off three defenders with great footwork to dive over. Harry Smith slotted over the conversion from the touchline to put Wigan 6-0 up.
Wigan continued to ask the questions and went close again in the 24th minute as Jake Wardle was stopped short before Liam Farrell tried to burrow his way over, but the referee called held up for the turnover.
Jake Wardle scored for a seventh game in a row as Wigan added a second in the 27th minute. Liam Marshall made a fantastic break after a six-again call to get Wigan starting the set 20m out and Jake Wardle muscled his way over on the left edge to push Wigan further ahead, the touchline conversion from Smith was just wide of the uprights but Wigan held the 10-0 advantage.
The Leopards hit back just before the break as Lachlan Lam supported a break to collect the ball inside and race under the sticks, with Reynolds converting the score to reduce Wigan’s lead to 10-6 going into the interval.
Toby King returned from a HIA check at the start of the second half as the two teams continued to battle hard for the two points. Jai Field looked to have got Wigan further ahead in the 50th minute as he broke through to race under the sticks but it was pulled back for an obstruction in the build-up and the score remained 10-6 in Wigan’s favour.
Leigh responded immediately as Oliver Gildart crossed the whitewash but the video referee was called into action and the Leopards in turn were denied an effort for an obstruction from Nakubuwai in the build-up. Wigan then forced a goal line drop out with a fantastic kick to get back on the attack.
Tensions were high going into the final 20 minutes as both teams struggled to break each other down.
Harry Smith tried a chip over the top with 5 minutes to go and he had eyes to collect himself but Leigh wrapped up the loose ball to get back in possession, though Wigan had the Leopards penned in their own half.
A tough second half ended as Wigan were confirmed League Leaders Shield winners at Leigh Sports Village.
Leigh Leopards: Gareth O’Brien, Josh Charnley, Oliver Gildart, Ed Chamberlain, Tom Briscoe, Ben Reynolds, Lachlan Lam, Robbie Mulhern, Edwin Ipape, Tom Amone, Kai O’Donnell, Jack Hughes, Joe Wardle.
Interchange: Joe Mellor, Matt Davis, Ben Nakubuwai, Oliver Holmes.
18th Player: Ava Seumanfangi.
Tries: Lam (36′)
Goals: Reynolds 1/1
Wigan Warriors: Jai Field, Abbas Miski, Toby King, Jake Wardle, Liam Marshall, Bevan French, Harry Smith, Tyler Dupree, Brad O’Neill, Kaide Ellis, Kai Pearce-Paul, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies.
Interchange: Sam Powell, Patrick Mago, Harvie Hill, Junior Nsemba.
18th Player: Joe Shorrocks.
Tries: Field (18′), Wardle (27′)
Goals: Smith 1/2
Referee: Liam Moore