Super League: Leeds Rhinos 26-14 Wigan Warriors

Zak Hardaker
Hardaker missed last weekend's defeat by Warrington through injury
Leeds Rhinos (16) 26
Tries: Cuthbertson, Handley, Singleton, Sutcliffe, Burrow Goals: Sutcliffe 3
Wigan Warriors (14) 14
Tries: Smith, Burgess Goals: Smith 3

Leeds handed a start to controversial full-back Zak Hardaker as they beat Super League rivals Wigan.

Hardaker's selection was a surprise given he had admitted an assault on a student earlier in the week.

Wigan's Matty Smith opened the scoring before Adam Cuthbertson, Ash Handley and Brad Singleton hit back for Leeds.

Joe Burgess' try for Wigan made it 16-14 at the break, but further scores from Liam Sutcliffe and Rob Burrow ensured victory for Leeds.

The win moves second-placed Leeds back to within two points of leaders St Helens.

Wigan's third defeat of the campaign leaves them fifth in the table and seven points off the summit after six games.

The Warriors, who were without England winger Josh Charnley (ankle), half-back Sam Powell (calf) and prop Ryan Sutton (concussion), took the lead after a good initial break from Anthony Gelling led to Smith going over.

Smith converted and then teed up a further two points after a high tackle on George Williams.

Moments later Leeds went in for their first score, with the outstanding Cuthbertson pouncing on Paul Aiton's grubber kick.

Sutcliffe kicked the extras and the hosts were soon in front when Handley crossed in the corner before Cuthbertson fed Singleton to add to the advantage with Leeds' third try.

Wigan fought back to reduce the deficit to just two points at the break, with Burgess catching Williams' kick over the top to dive in at the corner.

In the second half, Leeds' dominance began to tell and they eventually made a deserved breakthrough when Sutcliffe touched down.

Liam Farrell was then sent to the sin-bin for an offside offence and Sutcliffe added two points, with Burrow then pouncing for Leeds' fifth score of the night.

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott:

"I thought we were all right in spells. The comforting thing was that, in terms of energy and attitude, I thought we were cracking.

On Cuthbertson he added: "He's been very good since he came. He looks like he's been playing with us for years, he's settled in really well.

"He's a ball player but he also has the ability to make metres and put a shoulder into the tackles."

Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane:

"I'm very angry, very frustrated and disappointed.

"The best team won - they out-muscled us and controlled the ruck - but we gave too many penalties away.

"It's a tough place to come when you get a fair share of the ball but even tougher when you give away 11 penalties and not get the ball from two restarts.

"We looked a real threat when we controlled the ball. The boys know what they are doing wrong, we've just not got the composure to fix it on the field."

Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Handley, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sutcliffe, McGuire, Cuthbertson, Aiton, Peacock, Ablett, Ward, Jones-Buchanan.

Replacements: Burrow, Delaney, Yates, Singleton.

Wigan Warriors: Bowen, Manfredi, Gelling, Sarginson, Burgess, Williams, Smith, Clubb, McIlorum, Mossop, J Tomkins, L Farrell, Bateman.

Replacements: Tautai, Patrick, L Tomkins, C Farrell.

Referee: Richard Silverwood

Att: 18,350

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