Super League: Wigan Warriors hold off Castleford Tigers fight-back to win 24-22
|Betfred Super League|
|Wigan (20) 24|
|Tries: Marshall, Hamlin, Sarginson, Sutton Goals: Tomkins 2, Escare 2|
|Castleford (0) 22|
|Tries: Trueman, Clare, McShane, Clark Goals: Ellis 3|
Wigan Warriors survived a second-half Castleford Tigers fight-back to move three points clear in second and narrow the gap on leaders St Helens.
Liam Marshall, Gabe Hamlin, Dan Sarginson and Ryan Sutton tries helped establish a 20-0 half-time lead.
The Tigers came out fired up and scored through Jake Trueman, James Clare and Paul McShane to put the pressure on.
Goals from Morgan Escare and Sam Tomkins took Wigan clear and rendered Mitch Clark's score a mere consolation.
Not even the absence of Tomkins for part of the game with a migraine could deny Wigan the win, with the full-back returning late on to guide his side to the points.
In a week where the return of the legendary Shaun Edwards and Adrian Lam as Wigan coaches over the next two years, and the departure of John Bateman to Canberra Raiders threatened to overshadow any actual match action, Wigan delivered a first-half performance to delight their outgoing current coach Shaun Wane.
Wane, a Cherry and White legend in his own right, looked on as his side forced error after error from the Tigers with their energy and momentum, and punished them with their pressure - although some soft defence made it easy at times.
Castleford turned up after the break, winning better field position and exploiting it.
But further errors handed Wigan the chance to tip on the scoreboard from goal kicks, and despite winning the second-half 22-4 Castleford left the DW Stadium without a point to show for it.
Wigan head coach Shaun Wane:
"I was concerned. They are a good team. We just give them too many chances in the second half. I was concerned no question about that.
"Bringing Sam (Tomkins) back on changed the game. He did a great job. He had a migraine, so we tried to fix him and get him on a bed. The doctors did a great job getting him back on.
"We looked patient with the ball and picked them off when we could. Then we went away from doing that. We got bored of doing that and produced too many errors. We were under the pump in that game."
Castleford boss Daryl Powell:
"It was frustrating. The first half was unspeakable in lots of ways. You go in at half-time and you don't really know where to start because everything was wrong. Wigan came after us with their usual physicality and that was no surprise.
"The main surprise to me was that we didn't handle it at all. We were just poor to be honest. We needed to flip it (in the second half) and we did do that straight away.
"Why does it need that (poor start) to get a response? The scoreboard looks pretty close, but we were way off there in that first half and it is clearly unacceptable."
Wigan: Tomkins; Davies, Isa, Sarginson, L. Marshall; Williams, Leuluai; Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman, Hamlin.
Replacements: Escare, Clubb, Sutton, Partington.
Castleford: Eden; Gill, Wardle, Shenton, Clare; Ellis, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey.
Replacements: Webster, Moors, Milner, Clark.
Referee: James Child (RFL)