Leeds Rhinos fans stunned by 'amazing' win at Wigan Warriors but wary of Challenge Cup rematch
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The sides meet again at Headingley on Saturday in the Betfred Challenge Cup and our panel reckon the key for Rhinos is reproducing that second half performance, but for 80 minutes this time.
Friday night’s massive turnaround at Wigan certainly had the nay-sayers and keyboard warriors spluttering over their computers as Leeds turned it on in the second half.
Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett, the one-time Sheffield United soccer manager, once held a Christmas Party in early August, the idea of such a move being that his teams were only any good after the festive season.
Perhaps Leeds need to apply the same theory, such as starting a game with only 12 men or maybe already moving the clock forward to simulate half-time before kick-off.
Reverse logic might also suggest that these days Wigan are so poor you only need to string together a half of rugby to totally blow them away at home. Going 14-0 down was merely giving them a sporting start to keep the viewing public interested.
One downside to the evening was the serious injury to Toby Warren in the reserves fixture, which was then abandoned. I am sure I echo the sentiments of Leeds fans everywhere by wishing him a swift recovery.
Finally, it is Wigan again this weekend in the Challenge Cup and on a psychological level we will have Wigan looking over their shoulders. Even well in front, they may not be safe from a Rhinos’ charge.
Well, what a turnaround of events. If you had said to me we would beat Wigan in their own backyard by that margin I would have laughed at you.
Harry Newman was on fire with two absolutely fantastic interception tries. Zane Tetevano’s sending-off seemed to set us alight rather than set us back and the six second half tries were electric.
In the final 20 minutes we played our best rugby and I don’t want to speak too loud, but I think this could be the kick start we have needed to go on this season.
We overcame a lot of pressure in the first half and gelled together as a team. I was watching and screaming with delight and had the energy like the team, it felt amazing.
It has shown we have the spirit to play some fast fluid rugby and play as a team. We have Wigan again in the Challenge Cup this week, at home and I’d love to see the same performance for the 80 minutes, to begin a run to Wembley.
Well, the Rhinos did it again. That was a game we had no right to win, 14-0 down and a man sent-off, but somehow, we produced a stunning second half performance to win by 22 points.
The first half started in the usual manner, errors, penalties and silly play. Zane Tetavano’s sending-off seemed to spark a revival in Leeds and after that their performance increased substantially.
Although there is some discussion on social media as to whether it should have been a red or yellow card, to me it was a straight red and we should have no complaints.
I think we will be missing him for this week’s Challenge Cup match, along with James Bentley who suffered a horrible head clash.
There were plenty of players who deserve plaudits for a great second half. Blake Austin was at the centre of everything, his game play was great and his defence superb. Morgan Gannon was outstanding, he probably had more game time than anyone expected and it was great to see him hitting form.
Cam Smith, Mr Consistency, had yet another great game - I would still beg him to get rid of the mullet though!
Harry Newman took his tries well, he does remind me of the poacher supreme, Garry Schofield, in so many ways - not only his try scoring feats, but also his ability to wind up opposition players.
I’ve said this before, supporting Leeds is so frustrating, not knowing which team will turn up, but we do really need to start playing for 80 minutes and cutting out the errors we saw in the first 40.
When playing like we did in the second 40, we can beat anyone. We have a rematch this Saturday and I don’t think Wigan will play that badly again so we must start off well and play the full game.
Our next league game against St Helens is a very winnable game and we need the points to push up the table.
After last year's semi-final win at the DW Stadium I was not sure I would ever see a performance just as impressive away at Wigan, but against all odds, the boys proved me wrong as they embarrassed the Warriors in their own backyard.
The first half proved a tough test for Leeds but I thought we did well to keep the hosts to two tries.
To Wigan's credit, they starved us of possession and kept us in our half on the rare occasion we did have the ball.
We were solid in defence and put in the hard work to ensure we were still in the contest at half-time, even after Zane Tetevano received a somewhat soft red card.
Whatever Rohan Smith said to the team at half-time clearly worked as we came out a different beast in the second half.
It was going to be an uphill battle after losing a man but you could not tell there was a numerical advantage in the Warriors’ favour.
We were ruthless in attack and looked dangerous every time we had the ball, which is reflected in the six second half tries we scored.
We saw the best of Harry Newman on Friday, topped off by two brilliant interceptions that led to tries. He ran over 200 metres and was a constant thorn in Wigan’s side. I also thought Cameron Smith and Blake Austin were back to their best and really drove the team forward as we put Wigan to the sword.
Looking ahead to the rematch against Wigan on Saturday, we need to be aware of the retaliation from our Lancashire rivals. They will be hurt after being embarrassed at home and we will need to be back at our best if we want to progress in the cup.
Well, what a bonkers game that was. It was amazing to win in that fashion, which seems to be the norm now, but an 80-minute performance wouldn’t go amiss lads.
We could be naïve and only talk about the amazing second half comeback, but that first half needs rectifying.
The Bevan French try showed how we weren’t switched on, allowing for a soft try. The Zane Tetevano incident fired us up and once the pressure was off, we thrived.
I thought Tom Holroyd was immense, scoring a try and making 72 metres and a line break.
Once Mikolaj Oledzki gets back to his usual self, those two will become real enforcers and ones we should be looking to build the pack around in the future.
Wigan were by no means impressive. That horror second half of a performance will likely fire them up for this week in the Challenge Cup. The last time we played a team twice in a row was Catalans in 2021, when we lost both games.
Let’s hope this time around we can get two victories and have a good cup run for Rohan Smith to achieve his first bit of silverware.
I watched some of Friday night’s game on a screen in Tenerife and I think the majority of our fans weren’t expecting much from it. The opening 33 minutes proved why.
Wigan dominated possession and we made so many poor errors it was a really hard watch.
A try out of nothing from a Harry Newman interception give us a glimmer of hope, however Zane Tetevano came up with another red card in a Rhinos shirt, letting the team down. Unfortunately, being on holiday, that is all I saw of the game, so it was quite the shock to find out an hour later we had put 40 points on Wigan.
That is a tremendous victory, especially with with 12 men and proves there is fight in this team. Whether it’s pretty or not, they don’t give up.
A video the club put out showing Harry Newman at half time saying ‘we will win this game’ and keeping the players motivated is just the leadership we need.