Former Penrith and North Queensland hooker James Segeyaro has played a starring role as Leeds continued their late-season revival with a fourth win in five matches to halt Wigan’s eight-game winning run.
The Rhinos, who have rediscovered their form too late to climb out of the bottom four, knocked Hull off the top of the Super League table a week ago but helped them reclaim the spot by defeating their nearest rivals in a tense Grand Final re-match at Headingley.
The reigning champions looked to have the game sewn up when they led 18-4 after 65 minutes but they were forced to withstand a late rally from their visitors before clinching an 18-16 victory that lifts them off the bottom of the table.
England centre Kallum Watkins was back to his best and half-backs Jordan Lilley and Rob Burrow sparkled for Leeds.
But it is the recent addition of Segeyaro, who made his home debut, that has finally made the Rhinos a more rounded team.
Segeyaro fell out of favour with Penrith coach Anthony Griffin and the 2014 Dally M Hooker of the Year signed a two-year deal with Leeds last month in a trade that saw Rhinos fullback Zak Hardaker switch to the Panthers.
Wigan, who gave a debut to new signing Frank Paul Nuuausala for his first game for three months, had nine senior players missing through injury or suspension but played their full part in a rousing encounter in front of a 16,712 crowd.
Salford head coach Ian Watson praised winger Mason Caton-Brown after his hat-trick helped the Red Devils beat Widnes 32-24.
Caton-Brown only recently returned to action following an ankle operation and had scored only one try this season before his match-winning treble helped Salford secure their second win in six games.
Watson, whose side are resigned to playing in the Qualifiers, said: “Mason’s speed caused Widnes all sorts of problems. He was brilliant.”