Leeds feel full force of Farrell

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Wigan, subjected to a barrage of criticism after their abject performance in the Challenge Cup defeat at Hull last week, did something to redeem themselves with a well-earned if sometimes bitter and scrappy Super League victory over one of their main rivals.

Led by example by Andy Farrell, Wigan built a winning lead by half-time and then protected it. It was not always pretty, but it was effective and such is the nature of the rivalry between these two teams that they will settle for that.

A wild and woolly first half saw four men sent to the sin bin - Neil Cowie and Barrie McDermott for fighting, Darren Fleary for swinging a punch and Farrell for interfering at the play-the-ball - and another, Adrian Morley, was lucky to stay on the field when he was placed on report for a high tackle.

There was also some rugby of the highest class, notably from Farrell when he swerved and stepped his way through for Wigan's first try after two minutes. When Kris Radlinski challenged for Willie Peters' high kick and the ball ran kindly for Brett Dallas, Wigan scored again. That had the effect of galvanising Iestyn Harris, who dummied through the home defence for a lovely individual try.

Farrell added a penalty to his earlier conversion and with Leeds temporarily reduced to 11 men Wigan struck again, Terry Newton and Peters scrambling the ball to Denis Betts for a try converted by Farrell. After Jason Robinson had produced a wonderful chase and tackle to deny Leroy Rivett and Morley had flattened Lee Gilmour, Peters, kicking in Farrell's absence, put Wigan further ahead with what were to be the final points of the game.

Wigan failed to maintain the same momentum after the break, but Leeds, with Harris off the field having a knee strapped, could not take advantage. Even when Harris came back, Leeds were far too prone to overrunning the ball and could make no inroads. They had another worrying moment, with next Sunday's Challenge Cup semi-final in mind, when Morley went high on Simon Haughton, but escaped any immediate punishment beyond a penalty.

Steve Renouf had a try that would have put it beyond doubt disallowed for a double movement. It was irrelevant; there was, by that stage, no way that Leeds could make up the leeway.

Wigan Warriors: Radlinski; Dallas, Renouf, Connolly; Robinson, Andy Farrell; Peters, O'Connor, Newton, Cowie, Cassidy, Haughton, Betts. Substitutes used: Mestrov, Johnson, Davies, Gilmour.

Leeds Rhinos: Cummins; Rivett, Blackmore, Senior, Pratt; Harris, Sheridan; Fleary, Jackson, McDermott, Morley, Anthony Farrell, Hay. Substitutes used: Sinfield, Barnhill, Lawford, Powell.

Referee: S Presley (Castleford).

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