Wigan Warriors claimed a crucial 23-14 win at Leeds Rhinos to go just two points off the playoffs.
It was the Rhinos who were on the board first as Liam Sutcliffe took advantage of the wet conditions to score a penalty.
After a first half largely in stalemate, it was a moment of individual brilliance to open the game up as Oliver Gildart ran the ball and managed a brilliant solo try. Chris Hankinson scored the conversion to bring Wigan’s lead out to four points.
Hankinson then added two more penalties in quick succession to put the Warriors into a strong position with half time approaching.
But with five minutes to go until the break, the Rhinos got right back into the game after brilliant determination from Adam Cuthbertson to get over the line. Sutcliffe added a conversion to bring the deficit back to two points.
The last word of the half would go to the Warriors though as Sam Powell slotted a drop goal right on half time, ensuring the visitors went in three points ahead.
The first try was going to be crucial at the start of the second half and it was the Rhinos who got it as Trent Merrin powered over. Tui Lolohea scored the conversion to edge the Rhinos ahead for the first time since the 20 minute mark.
The game was on a knife edge with an hour gone, and the Warriors made the next move and scored through Ollie Partington. Hankinson converted to put the visitors back in front.
As the Rhinos searched for a try that could bring them back into the game, a kick upfield was fielded by Tony Clubb who got past the defence and went through to score. Hankinson scored the conversion to settle the game.
It was an important win for Wigan as the defending champions look to claw back their season. They travel to Huddersfield Giants next Friday.
As for Leeds, they continue to look nervously over their shoulder as the playoffs grow more distant. It doesn’t get any easier for them as they travel to league leaders St Helens next Friday.