A display of rare tenacity from Wigan continued their remarkable record against the champ-ions and Super League leaders. Winners over Leeds three times last season, they survived a scoreless second half to deny the Rhinos again, with the former Leeds full-back Richie Mathers having an outstanding game.
"He was great. He looked every bit the player we thought we'd signed," said his coach, Brian Noble. "It's unfair to single out any particular player because it was a real team effort. We got embarrassed by St Helens three weeks ago. Since then we've re-focused and our defence has been pretty good, which it had to be tonight."
The absence of Wigan's main playmaker, Trent Barrett, with a knee injury meant a debut at stand-off for the 19-year-old Thomas Coyle and they started badly by allowing Kevin Sinfield's high kick to bounce to Matt Diskin, who sent Scott Donald over in the corner.
Wigan took the lead when Thomas Leuluai, Sean O'Loughlin and George Carmont put Pat Richards in for a try which he converted himself, adding a penalty two minutes later.
Leeds hit back when Sinfield ran at the defence and turned the ball back inside for Kylie Leuluai to score. There was nothing wrong with Wigan's spirit, however, and before half-time they got their noses in front. This time it was Thomas Leuluai, running on to a short pass from Iafeta Paleaaesina. Richards landed a third goal.
Wigan's second-half deter-mination was typified when three men took Carl Ablett into touch with three minutes left. That effectively condemned Leeds to a first home defeat of the season.
"Wigan were very good tonight. They worked extremely hard," said the Leeds coach, Brian McClennan. "It's good for us. We need these kind of things to learn from."
Leeds were inhibited by injuries to Simon Worrall and Ali Lauitiiti, but McClennan did not use that as an excuse. "I thought Wigan dominated us for long periods," he said.
Leeds: Webb; Smith, Ellis, Senior, Donald; Sinfield, Burrow; Scruton, Diskin, K Leuluai, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Worrall. Substitutes used: Burgess, Tansey, Ablett, R Bailey.
Wigan: Mathers; Colbon, Goulding, Carmont, Richards; Coyle, T Leuluai; Fielden, McIlorum, Coley, Hansen. P Bailey, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Higham, Paleaaesina, Tomkins, O'Carroll.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).Reuse content