Rugby League: Wigan outclass unhappy Hanley

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Wigan. . .24

Leeds . . .6

ELLERY HANLEY'S old club must surely have brought down the curtain on his international career. Hanley, needing a vintage performance to turn back the clock and force his way into the Great Britain side to play Australia in the World Cup final, was merely an ineffective part of an outclassed Leeds side.

Worse than that, he displayed an uncharacteristic lack of involvement that must have shown the Australian party in the stand as well as the Great Britain coach, Malcolm Reilly, that his day has passed.

Only in a couple of brief flourishes when the game was already beyond recall was there any sign of the old Hanley. Apart from that, his afternoon was most notable for 10 minutes spent in the sin-bin along with Shaun Edwards after the two friends and business partners had traded punches.

Wigan were already two points to the good at that stage, Frano Botica kicking the first of his four goals after Gary Mercer had gone high on Kelvin Skerrett.

A devastating break by Dean Bell, carried on by Jason Robinson, should have brought the first try but Denis Betts' pass was knocked down. The pressure was building inexorably, however, and Andrew Farrar's strength took him through a series of tackles for the touchdown.

Garry Schofield was another Leeds luminary struggling to find his touch and one of his kicks, fielded by Andre Stoop, brought the second Wigan try. The Namibian full-back, who had an impressive game, used Edwards as a foil and unloaded instead for Bell to score.

The feeling that Leeds lacked the ammunition to fire back took some of the urgency out of Wigan after the interval. Some improved Leeds defence also played a part in keeping them at bay until another run from deep by Stoop brought in Farrar, who exchanged passes with Edwards before crossing for his second.

Hanley went close after backing up Jim Fallon with 12 minutes to go and also had a hand in Leeds' token try a minute later. Alan Tait picked up a fumble from Sam Panapa and ran strongly for Hanley to take over and give Schofield the scoring pass.

It was too little, too late - for both Leeds and Great Britain.

Wigan: Stoop; Robinson, Bell, Farrar (Mather, 65), Panapa; Botica, S Edwards; Skerrett, Dermott, Platt, Betts, Cowie, McGinty (Mather, 31; Crompton, 54).

Leeds: Tait; Gibson, M Edwards (Wane, 26), Innes, Fallon; Schofield, Stephens; Molloy, Lowes, Dixon, Mercer, Goodway, Hanley. Sub: Worrall.

Ref: J Holdsworth (Kippax).