Super League beware - reports of Wigan's imminent demise are premature!
The champions are back and breathing down the necks of leaders St Helens.
The heavy defeat by their arch-rivals has stung the Riversiders into
action and they are getting better week by week.
The improvement was underlined with an excellent performance last night
against potentially tricky opponents.
The Tigers threw everything they had at Wigan and inspired by talented
skipper Tony Smith led 10-6 at the break, but the visitors always looked
to have the upper hand and the pressure told in the end allowing them to
romp home comfortable winners.
It left coach Graeme West satisfied with the performance saying: "It
was a tough game but we looked to be getting on top just before half-time.
"We controlled the ball better and our defence was strong. We showed
patience and I consider it a good win."
Henry Paul, who as usual got his name on the score sheet added:
"Castleford were really fired up and put us under pressure but they
couldn't finish us off. We got the two points which matters to keep the
pressure on our rivals."
Once again Andy Farrell was the pick of the Wigan team, running and
tackling strongly, but he was given good support from his colleagues.
The introduction of Craig Murdock at scrum-half with Shaun Edwards
moving to stand-off didn't really work and Wigan looked more dangerous
when they reverted back to their usual formation after the break.
Wigan missed a couple of early scoring chances and it looked costly
when Smith chipped ahead and regathered to score after 25 minutes. Richard
Goddard converted and added two penalties.
They hit back on the half hour, however, when Farrell charged down a
kick and the ball bounced kindly for him to race away and score in the
corner before adding the goal.
After the break Wigan quickly asserted themselves and despite Mick
Cassidy having the ball knocked out of his hands as he went over at the
corner, took the lead when Farrell added a couple of penalties before Gary
Connolly sent in Jason Robinson for a try. Five minutes later the
unstoppable Farrell scythed through the defence to put Rob Smyth over in
the other corner.
The two crucial tries came as Tigers prop Nathan Sykes was in the
sin-bin but the Yorkshiremen were back at full strength when Paul jinked
his way over with 10 minutes to go and Farrell goaled, while in the dying
minutes Farrell was again the architecht, this time for Connolly to touch
Wigan: Paul, Robinson, Tuigamala, Connolly, Radlinski, Edwards,
Murdock, Cowie, Hall, O'Connor, Quinnell, Cassidy, Farrell. Subs: Johnson
(for Paul 72), Smyth (for Murdock HT), Haughton (for Quinnell 26),
Skerrett (for O'Connor 26), O'Connor (for Skerrett 67), Quinnell (for