An 80th minute try from Leeds’ Ryan Hall stole the League Leaders’ Shield away from Wigan Warriors during an exhilarating Super 8s finale on Friday night.
The Warriors defeated Castleford Tigers 47-12 at The DW Stadium and were well on course for clinching top spot as up until the final second, Huddersfield were holding Leeds to a draw.
A last-minute try for the Rhinos though meant Shaun Wane’s men had to settle for a second placed finish at the end of the Super 8s campaign.
‘‘I’m a massive believer that you get what you deserve,’’ said Wane.
‘‘We’ve not deserved to win it, we’ve come close, but that fact is we’ve not got it.
‘‘They’re the league leaders. We’ll take it on the chin and use it as motivation heading into the game next Thursday.’’
The last minute drama means Wigan will face Huddersfield at the DW Stadium on Thursday night with the winners progressing to the Grand Final.
They will face the winner of Friday night’s semi-final between Leeds and St Helens.
The Wigan boss admitted his disbelief when initially told of the Rhinos’ last-gasp victory.
‘‘I didn’t get any (updates),’’ Wane said.
‘‘I didn’t want any until the end when I got on to the bench.
‘‘Steve Blakeley (Wigan’s Physiotherapist) came and said ‘‘Leeds have scored’’.
‘‘I thought it was a sick joke!’’
Despite his disappointment, Wane was quick to praise a Leeds team who are now on course to win the triple this season.
‘‘It doesn’t feel like a defeat although it’s not far off,’’ Wane confessed.
‘‘I have to congratulate Leeds though, they’ve stayed in there and battled to the end.’’
The Wigan club have had to lick their wounds swiftly though as the semi-final against Paul Anderson’s Giants looms.
‘‘It’s going to be very very tough,’’ admitted the Wigan boss.
‘‘Paul (Anderson) will be hurting. They’ll come here very motivated, they’re not a top four team for nothing.
‘‘They’re a good side so we’ll be working hard as staff to make sure we’re ready for Thursday night.’’
Image courtesy of PA via YouTube, with thanks.