Leeds 8 Wigan 9: Five things we learned
Five things we learned from Wigan's dramatic 9-8 win at Headingley...
1. After a second first-half error, Sam Tomkins was serenaded to a chant of, “That’s why they’re selling you” from the home fans.
By the end, he had shown that’s why Catalans have pursued him so hard. That’s why he has been the focal point of conversation for so many supporters in recent weeks.
His decisive 77th-minute drop-goal, from 35m out and at an angle, was as crucial as it was stunning - and super-boots Pat Richards and Owen Farrell were among those to praise him on Twitter.
“That drop-goal from Sammy in those conditions was world-class, credit to him,” said Leeds coach Brian McDermott.
As was Tomkins’ sideline conversion moments later.
And that’s why Wigan fans will miss him when he goes.
2. And so Wigan broke their poor Headingley record which stretched back seven straight losses.
There had been two World Cups since their last victory at the ground, currently being redeveloped, in 2012.
In a season in which their proud, eight-year Good Friday run came to a dramatic end, it was pleasing to see this sequence of results finish.
3. Are Wigan the comeback kings of Super League?
Just six days after turning a 21-0 deficit into a stunning 32-23 win at Catalans, the Warriors flipped another game on its head.
Trailing 8-0 heading into the final 10 minutes, Oliver Gildart’s try gave them hope before the boot of Tomkins did the rest. Wigan certainly appear to be playing better in the second-half of matches - they have trailed at half-time in six of their 10 games this season.
4. Despite the thrilling finish, this was not a classic.
The trill of Ben Thaler’s whistle frequently interrupted proceedings, and there were too many sloppy errors from both sides. “How about give us a ball that’s not like a bar of soap when there’s a bit of wet weather and it may be different,” tweeted John Bateman, not the first criticism of the Rhino-branded balls.
It said it all that by half-time the loudest cheer had been for a streaker - who realised that was still a thing?
Even the PA announcer poked fun at the intruder when he said: “Half-time at the Emerald Headingley... a very cold Emerald Headingley.”
5. Including the Super-8s games, teams play 30 games before the play-offs.
Wigan are now a third of their way through those fixtures, and can reflect with some satisfaction.
While Shaun Wane is adamant they can make huge improvements, Wigan are second in the table, having won eight matches - and the two losses have been by one-score margins.
They are cruising a lot quite well and, whisper it quietly... they have also avoided an injury crisis!