Wigan Warriors 0 Leeds Rhinos 8: Adrian Lam's side crash out of play-offs

Wigan's season is over.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 9:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 10:10 pm
Ollie Partington

Their 8-0 defeat to Leeds Rhinos tonight has sent them tumbling out of the play-offs.

It means the end of the road for coach Adrian Lam after three years at the helm, as well as NRL-bound Jackson Hastings and Oliver Gildart.

Props Tony Clubb and Joe Bullock, who didn't play, are also departing.

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This was a disappointing end to a rocky campaign which had appeared to pick up over the last few weeks.

The Warriors' tight defence had leaked just four tries in their last four matches, including victories against Catalans, Hull FC and Castleford, as they secured fourth spot and a home quarter-final against sixth-placed Leeds.

But it was the Rhinos - another side to fly into the play-offs under the radar - who emerged victorious to book their spot in a semi-final at either St Helens or Catalans, with the other side hosting the winners of tomorrow's clash between Warrington and Hull KR.

In many ways, this final scoreline typified Wigan's form, even during their resurgence; as composed as they were making progress down the field, and as good as their defence was, their star-studded squad just couldn't muster anything by way of a threat near Leeds' line.

As predicted, Lam brought back six big-guns rested for last week's 12-8 win against the Dragons - Sam Powell, John Bateman, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies, Liam Marshall and Brad Singleton.

Winger Sam Halsall and prop Mitch Clark were among those who made way.

The opening half was the first in the play-offs to finish 0-0, a muscular arm-wrestle with few chances for either side. If anything, Leeds made the more mistakes, but Wigan's failure to capitalise came back to bite them in the 50th minute when Ash Handley scored a try after Richie Myler leapt above Jake Bibby to get the ball back from a high kick. Rhys Martin added the goal.

In the 70th minute, Kruise Leeming attempted a drop goal which sailed wide but - three minutes later - Ollie Partington was penalised for ripping a ball out, and Martin's penalty opened up an eight point gap to tighten their grip on a lead they never relinquished.