Leeds Rhinos 6 Wigan Warriors 19: Liam Farrell scores two tries

LIam Farrell swept over for two tries as Wigan stretched their unbeaten start to the season.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 9:37 pm
Updated Friday, 16th April 2021, 9:10 am
Liam Farrell scores his first try

The Warriors held a slender six point lead heading into the final 10 minutes when Jackson Hastings carved out Farrell's second try to give the visitors some breathing space.

The margin of victory would have been greater had the otherwise outstanding Zak Hardaker struck more than one of his four goal attempts.

But so early in the season, they will take a great deal of satisfaction from claiming victory in a spirited Headingley showdown - not least another impressive defensive effort.

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Tony Clubb made his first start of the year

The Warriors had won their last five Super League meetings with Leeds but were still needled by their semi-final loss to the Yorkshire outfit in the Challenge Cup last year.

They started methodically and aggressively against a depleted side featuring Kyle Eastmond, who made his club debut following his return from union.

Wigan, playing for the first time in a purple alternative strip, didn't risk Bevan French for the first time this year and again had a patched-up backline featuring Willie Isa and recalled Farrell in the centre roles.

Farrell may have only been starting his second match in the three-quarters, but he showed plenty of class as his arcing run, muscle and determination saw him cross for the opening try in the 19th minute.

Morgan Smithies was strong in the left second-row spot and with Joe Bullock and Joe Shorrocks adding a presence from the bench, they tightened their grip before the break.

Hardaker's quick feet and quicker thinking earned him a 34th minute try, chipping on and racing onto the ball to touch down.

He tried to repeat the trick before the break, racing onto Jackson Hastings' shallow kick, only to be denied by a Luke Briscoe tackle.

Kruise Leeming and replacement hooker Brad Dwyer were the hosts' biggest threats, on the back of the surging charges of Mikolaj Oledski, but they had little which worried the Wigan line as they made it to half-time registering their fourth successive half without conceding a point.

But the hosts were far more expansive and adventurous from the restart, Eatmond spinning the ball wide for Alex Mellor to cross from a sweet pass from Briscoe. With Reece Martin tagging on the extras, Wigan's lead was reeled in to just two points.

The try lifted Leeds but a wonderful tackle by Thomas Leuluai to force a repeat set injected some sting back into their display. And when the Rhinos failed to find touch with a penalty, it gifted Wigan the platform for Jackson Hastings to cut through a jagged short-side defence with a neat dummy to make it 12-6 on the hour mark. Had Hardaker kicked his conversions they would be comfortably in front, but his failure with the boot kept the scoreline tight and tense.

Replacement Harry Smith was unable to collect a Bibby palm-down to cross but Wigan continued to press and - after a fortuitous penalty in their favour - Hastings' accelerates into the line to send Farrell over for his second try.

Hardaker's first goal opened up a 12 point gap before a late drop-goal nudged them further clear.

The Warriors, who had already beaten Leigh, Wakefield and York this year, are next in action next Thursday, at home to Castleford.

Leeds Rhinos: Broadbent; L Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Mellor, T Briscoe; Martin, Eastmond; Prior, Leeming, Oledzki, Donaldson, Walters, Smith. Subs: Dwyer, O'Connor, Gannon, Hall.

Wigan Warriors: Hardaker; Bibby, Isa, Farrell, Hanley; Leuluai, Hastings; Clubb, Powell, Singleton, Bateman, Smithies, Partington. Subs: Bullock, Havard, Shorrocks, Smith