Sinfield's boot shows Leeds the way against weakened Wigan

Leeds 36 Wigan 24
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The Independent Online

Leeds got back on track in the Super League last night as Kevin Sinfield led them to a well-deserved home victory over a depleted Wigan side, who hung on manfully but lacked firepower.

Leeds got back on track in the Super League last night as Kevin Sinfield led them to a well-deserved home victory over a depleted Wigan side, who hung on manfully but lacked firepower.

One of the aspects of their play for which Leeds were criticised in their Challenge Cup defeat at St Helens last week was their lack of an effective kicking game. They made an early start at putting that right last night, with two tries both created by clever use of the boot by their captain, Sinfield. His first kick sat up perfectly for Jamie Jones-Buchanan and his second, angled the other way, completely wrong-footed the Wigan defence for Danny McGuire to dive in and score.

Sinfield kicked both goals and it was only three penalties from Wigan's Danny Pickle that were keeping them in touch.

Jones-Buchanan got a second try just before the half-hour, rather a messy one as the ball came back off a Wigan defender as Francis Cummins tried to throw his pass inside.

The two tries that followed, however, were both magnificent efforts. The first of them featured wonderful handling skills from a succession of young Wigan players with Danny Sculthorpe, Luke Robinson and Gareth Hock paving the way for Kevin Brown.

Leeds' riposte was a case of anything you can do, we can improve. Sinfield, having an excellent game, made the initial break and the support play from a series of players was impeccable before McGuire handled for a second time taking Matt Diskin's final pass. Sinfield missed that goal but was on the mark with a penalty before half time, but Sculthorpe was fortunate not to be more severely punished for taking out McGuire off the ball.

Wigan thought they were back in the game early in the second half, only for Sean O'Loughlin's touchdown from Danny Orr's kick to be disallowed for a marginal offside.

Leeds' rely was instant and ruthless, Willie Poching driving up field on a storming run and laying on a try for Chev Walker.

Led by Kris Radlinski, Wigan would not lie down and hinted at a remarkable fight back with two tries from Stephen Wild.

But Diskin's try from dummy-half and Sinfield's goal made it safe for the Rhinos, even though Martin Aspinwall underlined Wigan's continuing defiance by going over in the corner as time ran out.

Leeds: Mathers; Bai, Walker, Senior, Cummins; McGuire, Dunemann; Bailey, Diskin, Ward, Furner, Jones-Buchanan, Sinfield. Substitutes: McDonald, Burrow, Poching, Feather.

Wigan: Radlinski; Melling, Aspinwall, Brown, Dallas; Orr, Robinson; C Smith, Newton, Pongia, Hock, Tickle, O'Loughlin. Substitutes: O'Connor, M Smith, Sculthorpe, Wild.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

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