Stevie Ward scored a hat-trick as Leeds Rhinos responded to their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final exit against Hull FC with a clinical 32-16 victory over defending Betfred Super League champions Wigan Warriors.
Second-rower Ward opened the scoring in the first half and grabbed two more tries in the final quarter to confirm a highly impressive performance by the Rhinos.
Fellow academy product Ashton Golding weighed in with a brace as Brian McDermott's second-placed side increased Wigan's chances of missing out on a top-four finish and play-off semi-final spot.
Leeds led through Ward and some delightful handling from Matt Parcell and Kallum Watkins led to Golding darting over.
Wigan replied when winger Tom Davies took a pass from Sam Tomkins to score in the right corner.
Davies showed remarkable pace to seize on a mistake by Liam Sutcliffe and race 90 metres down the right flank to score.
Ryan Hall's surging run and clever kick sent Golding diving over for his second after the break.
Tom Briscoe's pass put Parcell over from close range and then Ward took a pass from Danny McGuire to score his second before he grounded a kick from the Leeds captain to complete his treble.
Tomkins hit back for Wigan with a predatory effort in the right corner.
Leeds boss Brian McDermott paid tribute to Ward after the homegrown star's hat-trick.
He said: "It was the flattest week since I've been coach after we invested so much into the Hull game.
Forwards get set for a big clash tonight pic.twitter.com/eBBGEIRg8J— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) August 4, 2017
"I just sensed the players wanted to be left alone and get to gameday, which we pretty much did.
"I wasn't sure what we would deliver, but it was great to see and there was lots of energy.
"While Wigan weren't at their best in attack, I thought on occasions we defended what they threw at us during some really important moments in the game.
"I just think Stevie is a brilliant player. He can defend like a prop and skip past people and find a pass – he's just got an all-round game, very much like Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
"I went for a beer with him and Adam Cuthbertson last week after the game and it's only when you're in that kind of environment that you realise how much they care and how much it hurt.
"Stevie has been through some moments in his career, good and bad, so it's great we are seeing the best of him."
Headingley Carnegie Stadium filling up nicely now. The action gets underway in ten minutes time. pic.twitter.com/YxfxNkno9d— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪️ (@WiganWarriorsRL) August 4, 2017
Wigan head coach Shaun Wane admitted: "We were disappointing, poor and we lacked energy.
"I was disappointed with the individual defence but my lads have been great all year – we've won a final, we've reached another final but today we took a step back.
"Leeds didn't look flat and looked a lot more energised than we did.
"There are no excuses because we were beaten by the better team in every department.
"But we will never, ever, give in and we will be ready for next Friday (against Huddersfield). We need to win every game now but I said that before this match."