Wigan Warriors 0 Leeds Rhinos 14: Another game without a try for hosts

Wigan lurched through a second successive game without scoring a try to cast further doubts about their play-off aspirations.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 9:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 10:12 pm
Jai Field started at full-back

There were claims on social media that fans with a 'Lam Out' banner were removed from the ground at half-time.

It would be no comfort to them that they didn't miss much in the second-half.

Any bright spots early on soon faded and by the end, Wigan were left humiliated, having failed to post a try in five halves in a row.

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It was hard to make sense of their abject lack of creativity or their poor execution. Sure, Jai Field - who started at full-back - is not yet up-to-speed, but there were enough A-list personnel in their side - Hastings to Hardaker, Bateman to Farrell - to produce a much better performance than this.

This was Wigan's third loss in a row, and ninth in 14. They remain in the play-offs positions but with a home straight against Castleford, Warrington, Hull FC and Catalans, they are in grave danger of slipping out of contention.

On this evidence, they wouldn't be able to cause any problems even if they did make the play-offs.

Whisper it quietly, Wigan did have some encouraging signs early on.

A piercing break from emergency-hooker Joe Shorrocks was undone by a poor pass to the supporting Harry Smith and by the 20th minute, they had forced two goal-line dropouts. Their opponents had Zane Tetevano sinbinned and just before his return, Luke Briscoe also saw yellow for a professional foul after Jackson Hastings had blazed through.

All of which was good, of course, had they been able to capitalise. But when they reached their opponents' line, their attacks ranged from plodding to predictable, lacking shape and threat.

Leeds weren't much better, but in the 37th minute hooker Brad Dwyer, a former Ince junior, grounding a stabbed kick into the ingoal and with Rhyse Martin converting, the hosts were 6-0 down.

And it quickly went from bad to worse, Martin slotting the extras after Richie Myler had punished a brittle defence.

Errors began eating into the hosts' display - a sign, perhaps, of their growing frustration - and when Leeds were awarded a penalty in the 56th minute, Martin's boot opened up a 14-point gap.

From that point, Wigan improved briefly, and serenaded by the cheers of the home fans they marched into Leeds territory with energy but - again - their attack wasn't clinical enough, twice in quick succession the ball slipping through Oliver Gildart's fingers.

They don't have much time to lick their wounds; they head to Castleford on Monday.

Wigan: Field; Bibby, Hardaker, Gildart, Marshall; Smith, Hastings; Singleton, Shorrocks, Partington, Bateman, Farrell, Smithies. Subs: Bourouh, Byrne, Havard, Pearce-Paul.

Leeds: Myler; L Briscoe, Newman, T Briscoe, Handley; Lui, Leeming; Thompson, Dwyer, Prior, Gannon, Martin, Tetevano. Subs: Donaldson, Vuniyayawa, Holroyd, Smith.

Referee: Robert Hicks

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Phil Wilkinson