Newton makes Leeds pay for waywardness

Leeds Rhinos 18 Wigan Warriors 38
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The Independent Online

A massive contribution from Terry Newton, who scored two tries and provided the pass for the other four, was the key as Wigan took advantage of Leeds' distracted spell in mid-match at Headingley last night.

With the isolated exception of a disallowed try by the hooker, Leeds had the upper hand in the early minutes. The pressure paid off, although in controversial circumstances. The penalty given against Wigan for stealing the ball from Gary Mercer was debatable, and Wigan were doubly aggrieved when Kevin Sinfield took a quick tap penalty before they were ready and dashed away to score.

Wigan's untidiness meant their attacks came to zero and even their equaliser just before the half-hour was dubious. Gary Connolly took Newton's pass from dummy-half and, although the ball seemed to roll out before he could ground it, the video referee awarded the try after a surprisingly brief scrutiny.

It was a decision that threw Leeds badly. Three minutes later, Newton was the provider again as Paul Johnson forced his way over with Andy Farrell kicking his second conversion from the touchline.

Leeds continued to go to pieces, Mercer losing the ball on the ground and Adrian Lam combining with Newton for a third Wigan try, again improved by Farrell, to give them a half-time lead that made mockery of their early struggles.

Wigan carried on taking advantage of Leeds' disarray with a try in the first minute of the second half, Farrell chipping ahead for Kris Radlinski to re-gather for Newton to claim a try by arriving in support.

Leeds made a resurgence after Connolly was sent to the sin-bin for holding on in a tackle, capitalising through a lovely break from Sinfield to send Mark Calderwood away. With Connolly still off the field, Robbie Mears made it far too close for comfort for Wigan, chasing his own kick to touch down when it rebounded from the foot of the post.

Newton calmed Wigan's nerves with his second, and then provided the pass for Farrell that made the match safe. Farrell achieved his seventh from as many attempts and Wigan will take confidence into next week's top of the table game with Bradford, while Leeds are not yet sure of their play-off place.

Leeds Rhinos: Cummins; Walker, Carroll, Senior, Calderwood; Sinfield, Sheridan; Fleary, Mears, McDermott, Mercer, Anthony Farrell, Wrench. Substitutes used: Burrow, Ward, Mathiou, Netherton.

Wigan Warriors: Radlinski; Dallas, Connolly, Johnson, Hodgson; Chester, Lam; O'Connor, Newton, Howard, Furner, Cassidy, Andy Farrell. Substitutes used: Carney, Betts, Cowie, Aspinwall.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).

* Leeds have signed the Northern Eagles stand-off, Ben Walker, on a two-year contract.

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