Wigan add to Leeds woes as Watkins departs for Gold Coast Titans

Wigan Warriors outlasted Leeds Rhinos tonight at Headingley, winning 14-23 with the help of a last-minute try by prop forward Tony Clubb.

But the big news to come out of Headingley tonight is that Leeds captain Kallum Watkins will leave Headingley at the end of the month to join the NRL’s Gold Coast Titans on a long term contract, although he is expected to play for the Rhinos until his departure.

In a game that was tightly contested throughout, the Rhinos took an early lead through a Liam Sutcliffe penalty, but the game exploded into life on 20 minutes when Oliver Gildart rounded his opposite number Harry Newman to touch down for a superb score, which Chris Hankinson converted from the touchline, before adding two penalties.

The Rhinos replied when Adam Cuthbertson touched down, for Sutcliffe to convert, while Wigan’s Sam Powell kicked a field-goal right on the half-time hooter for an 8-11 scoreline.

Ten minutes into the second half, the Rhinos took the lead with a Trent Merrin try, converted by Tui Lolohea in the absence of Sutcliffe, who had left the field with a leg injury.

Wigan took the lead ten minutes later through Oliver Partington, converted by Hankinson for a three-point lead.

Ava Seumanufagai was then held up over the line and, as Leeds desperately tried to get back into the game Tony Clubb went over in  the corner with Hankinson adding the final conversion.

Leeds: Tui Lolohea, Tom Briscoe, Harry Newman, Konrad Hurrell, Ash Handley, Liam Sutcliffe, Richie Myler, Brad Singleton, Brad Dwyer, Ava Seumanufagai, Kallum Watkins, Brett Ferres, Trent Merrin; Subs: Cameron Smith, James Donaldson, Adam Cuthbertson, Mikolaj Oledzki.

Tries: Cuthbertson, Merrin Goals: Sutcliffe 2, Lolohea

Wigan: Dan Sarginson, Liam Marshall, Chris Hnkinson, Oliver Gildart, Joe Burgess, George Williams, Thomas Leuluai, Tony Clubb, Sam Powell, Romain Navarrete, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin; Subs: Jarrod Sammut, Joe Bullock, Oliver Partington, Morgan Smithies.

Tries: Gildart, Partington, Clubb Goals: Hankinson 5; Field Goal: Powell

A full report, photos and analysis from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.