Wigan Warriors: Five things we learned from the play-off semi-final defeat to Leeds
Amos Wynn reflects on the key talking points from Wigan Warriors’ play-off defeat to Leeds Rhinos at the DW Stadium.
1. Leeds dominant in defence
The Rhinos certainly frustrated the Warriors in the opening 40 minutes.
Despite Matty Peet’s side dominating and pushing their opponents hard, they only went into the break with a 4-2 lead.
After the restart, the direction of the game changed, with two tries and a red card coming in the space of 10 minutes.
As well as taking the lead, the Rhinos also continued to soak up any pressure, as they put in a great display.
It is certainly a disappointing end to the season for Wigan, especially when considering the field position they had in the first half.
2. Bateman sees red
It was John Bateman who was on the end of the sending off for Wigan.
The 28-year-old was high and late on Aidan Sezer, making it an easy decision for the referee.
You could see what he was trying, but just didn’t execute it well, and now could miss numerous games for England at the Rugby League World Cup.
On the red card, Matty Peet said: “I’ve no complaints, we understand the rules.
“John had all the best intentions, it was a split-second error. I hope Aidan’s okay.
“It would be sad if he got a ban, but I suppose they’ve got to stick what they’ve done all season. It would be a shame if misses out on World Cup games.”
3. Respect for Tommy
Friday night proved to be Thomas Leuluai’s last-ever game for Wigan, as he prepares to retire at the end of the season.
The fans gave him a great reception, as did both sets of players at the end of the match, with the teams forming a guard of honour for the 37-year-old as he left the DW Stadium field for the final time.
4. Bevan’s injury woes
Wigan went into the game with Liam Farrell and Cade Cust already missing, so it was a huge blow when Bevan French went off injured.
It was clear in the first half he was struggling, going down for treatment on his foot on a number of occasions.
It was quite surprising that he came back out after the break, but only lasted less than 10 minutes.
Peet said: “We thought he was okay at half time but it wasn’t to be. He couldn’t continue but gave it his best shot.”
5. A disappointing end to a fantastic season
While Friday’s result will sting for the next few days, when the dust settles it won’t take away from an incredible year.
What Matty Peet has done is incredible, with the mood around the entire club being completely different to last season’s play-off defeat to Leeds.
Fans have been given fantastic rugby, as well as a few days out they’ll never forget.
The reason the semi-final defeat will hit so hard, is because expectation has been raised so high throughout 2022.
Peet has been a class act both on and off the field, and this season is just the start.