MICHAEL Maguire spoke of his pride last night after Wigan edged a dramatic clash with Leeds 26-24.
Two tries in a five-minute spell after half-time put the home side in control – and Warriors staved off a late rally by Rhinos to cling on to the victory.
Maguire said: “Full credit to our boys.
“We knew that it was going to be a tough game, and we had to work for the whole game.
“They’re always tough games when we play against Leeds and we expected that.
“We came out in the second half and had a good 15 minutes, but I always knew in the back of my mind that Leeds don’t go away.
“A team like Leeds can play and they showed that – so it was good to get those two points.”
The quickfire tries from Pat Richards and George Carmont in the second half followed opening half scores from Josh Charnley and Ryan Hoffman.
Richards also kicked a penalty shortly after the hour-mark – a score which eventually proved decisive.
“We expected Leeds to come back at us, without a doubt, which is why we went for the penalty,” said Maguire.
Wigan were also indebted to St Helens video referee Steve Ganson for denying Danny McGuire a late try for a knock-on, which would have given Rhinos the lead.
“We were lucky to get away with it at the end,” Maguire continued.
“I was thinking, ‘Please don’t be a try’.
“It was obviously a dropped ball, so we just had to get back into the game and get control, because we lost a bit of control throughout the second half and it made it tough for us.”
Prop Paul Prescott left the action in the opening minute of the second half with a hamstring injury, but Maguire said it was too soon to say whether it is serious or not.
The win keeps them one point behind leaders Warrington, who thumped Castleford, but Maguire’s men can go top if they also beat Tigers on Wednesday.
Last night’s game was the first of three in a frantic nine-day period.
Maguire’s outfit host Castleford on Wednesday – a rearranged fixture because of Wigan’s involvement in the World Club Challenge in February – and then travel to London to take on Harlequins a week today.
Tigers coach Terry Matterson yesterday complained about the scheduling of their trip to the DW Stadium.
“We had no choice but to bring our game forward from Sunday,” he said ahead of their match against Warrington.
“It will hurt the club crowd-wise, and we’re really disappointed with the timing.
“We wanted to play Wigan after the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup when we both might have had a free weekend, but Wigan requested Wednesday and Wigan got Wednesday.”