Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair duly claimed the Betfred Wheelchair League Leaders’ Shield – to go with their Challenge Cup – and with it a home semi final, following a 76-50 win away at Wigan in their final day decider.
The Rhinos were never behind in the game, England skipper Tom Halliwell scoring a 16 minute first half hat-trick in a blistering start that also saw James Simpson cross as he kept up his scoring form with a beautiful show to fool his opposite number.
Wigan hit back on their first possession through Phil Roberts, son Declan converting and Adam Rigby went over from a Lenny Izzard pass to make it 16-12. Ewan Clibbens and Halliwell’s third try stretched the visitors’ lead back to 14-points, Matt Wooloff and Josh Butler swapping tries before Nathan Collins’ pace saw him fly through the Warriors defence to open his account.
Collins’ second sandwiched efforts from Declan Roberts and Wooloff again as Wigan remained at arm’s length, their kicker Declan Roberts remaining perfect when adding the extras to make it 40-30 to the Rhinos at half time.
Two quick-fire tries at the start of the second period, a second for Simpson and third from Collins, both converted, gave the Rhinos an unassailable lead as they pulled clear of their hosts. Butler and Simpson quickly completed their own hat tricks for Leeds as did Wooloff for the Warriors who was putting on a strong display.
It was England international Collins who topped the bill though, finishing with four tries- including another length of the field effort- and nine goals for a personal haul of 34 points. Halliwell kicked two goals and Clibbens one, helping the Rhinos to secure a comfortable victory in Lancashire and add another piece of silverware to their impressive collection.
Rhinos’ player-coach Simpson noted: “It was exactly the kind of tough clash we were expecting but our starts to both halves were high quality and intense, and that saw us through. To pick up a second trophy is immense and an absolute credit to this group who work incredibly hard for their success.”
The Rhinos will now host London Roosters at Leeds Beckett in the Semi-Finals on Saturday 17th September, whilst this weekend’s opponents Wigan Warriors will travel to Halifax Panthers in the other tie after defeating London 54-42 down in Medway, finishing just one point off top spot.
- Wigan Warriors 50-76 Leeds Rhinos
- London Roosters 42-54 Halifax Panthers
Semi Final Fixtures:
Leeds Rhinos v London Roosters- Saturday 17th September 3:30pm- Leeds Beckett University
Halifax Panthers v Wigan Warriors- Sunday 18th September