Ruthless Wigan thrash Leeds
Wigan effortlessly overcame the absence of a full pack of forwards to thrash defending champions Leeds and consolidate their place at the top of Stobart Super League.by NRL
Wigan effortlessly overcame the absence of a full pack of forwards to thrash defending champions Leeds and consolidate their place at the top of Stobart Super League.
The Warriors were in ruthless mood, much to the delight of Wigan fan Rio Ferdinand, who was among the 16,113 Headingley crowd to marvel at the skills of Sam Tomkins and company as they stretched their team's winning run to 11 matches.
Wigan may have had six regular members of their pack missing through injury and suspension but that did not stop their remaining forwards scoring their first three tries of a fierce Roses encounter.
Leeds were simply outclassed by their opponents and, after a second consecutive home defeat left them languishing in seventh place, they have little time to dwell on their plight, with a trip to Warrington Wolves next up as well as a Cup semi-final meeting with Wigan to look forward to in July.
Wigan gave a debut to 18-year-old Welshman Rhodri Lloyd, who took his place on a lightweight bench and was introduced four minutes into the second half, with his side comfortably in control at 26-4.
The Warriors' inexperienced pack more than held their own which gave Tomkins the chance to weave his magic.
He did not score himself but was directly involved in four of his side's nine tries to further underline his immense talent while winger Josh Charnley continued his prolific run with an 18-point haul.
The match began badly for Leeds, with Carl Ablett knocking on from the kick-off, and did not get much better throughout the night.
Prop Jeff Lima, two-try hero of Wigan's Challenge Cup win over Leeds at Wembley last August, took Michael McIlorum's short pass to crash over for the game's first score.
Then Tomkins showed his quality as he tore through the heart of the Leeds defence, leaving Danny McGuire grasping at thin air, as he sent the supporting Liam Farrell over just four minutes later.
As the visitors continued to impress, winger Josh Charnley and second rower Jack Hughes had further tries disallowed by video referee Ian Smith but Leeds briefly stemmed the tide when back-to-back penalties gave them the position for winger Ryan Hall to grab his 16th try of the season, courtesy of McGuire's long pass.
Even when Wigan coach Shaun Wane began to rotate his forwards, there was little sign of any let-up and Lima was held up on his back over the line before skipper Sean O'Loughlin took Brett Finch's perfectly-timed short pass to cross for a third try, to which Charnley added a third goal to make it 18-4.
Tomkins then carved open the home defence to get centre George Carmont sprinting over before scrum-half Thomas Leuluai added a fifth try on the stroke of half-time, jinking his way over for a trademark solo score.
Leeds had lost McGuire to injury by then and their fortunes went from bad to worse in the second half.
A desperate ankle tap by Sinfield on Tomkins halted the immediate danger after the full-back broke out of defence but it created the position for centre Darrell Goulding to send Charnley over unopposed for his 21st Super League try of the season.
Tomkins was also involved in the move that enabled winger Anthony Gelling to get in on the try spree on the hour mark.
Leeds grabbed a consolation try through Hall, his second of the match, but that man Tomkins struck once more, breaking out of his own half to send Leuluai over for his second try.
Stand-off Finch then rounded off the rout by collecting Rhinos hooker Shaun Lunt's kick to score his side's ninth try five minutes from the end and Charnley took his goal tally to seven from nine attempts.
Follow rleague.com on Facebook
View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...