Well I was telling people pre match that Castleford is always a
tough place to visit because they are not a team that "rolls over
and dies" in their performances, but to be honest I can't remember
an easier game at Cas than this one.
The game was obviously
over-shadowed by the death of Tigers coach Ian Millward's son last
week and a nice minute applause was held before the contest. I
expected Castleford to put in a huge emotionally driven display
following that, but instead we got a very flat effort.
Credit Wigan though. I thought they did a very professional job
and were clinical in their try scoring for the second week in a
row. Some fans saying we "switched off" in the last half hour but I
don't actually take that view myself. I think Castleford succeeded
with a damage limitation exercise at the back end of the game.
Maybe we lost a bit of edge with ball retention but Warrington
perhaps proved last season, that putting the effort in to totally
annihilate teams is not totally necessary?
Coach Shaun Wane was forced into a change from the 17 that beat
Bradford last weekend. Ben Flower damaged his rib cartilage in
training, so Eric Lauaki came into the starting line up with Tom
Spencer being recalled from his dual-registration at Leigh to play
off the subs bench.
Wane was also sweating over Fuzzy Goulding in the warm up. He
pulled up with a hamstring or thigh injury but, despite being
heavily strapped, he passed a late fitness test to play on.
Although with the Under 20s having played (and lost) before this
game, we were perhaps short of a replacement?
Anyway, Wigan really never looked in danger of losing this game.
It was a walk in the park right from the off. Castleford survived
our first set on their line, but not the second. Sean O'Loughlin
broke through from 25 metres out and Pat's conversion made it 6-0.
We should have been in again a couple of minutes later but Sam
Tomkins pass had Pat Richards reaching high. Despite being a
giraffe in the air, not even he could catch that one.
Sam quickly amended that error with a solo try on 8 minutes. His
footwork totally mugged Ryan McGoldrick from about 25 metres
and Pat again converted for 12-0.
Cas though were gifted a chance to hit back by a poor error by
Gareth Hock way inside his own half. He then compounded that error
by conceding two penalties. The first was for back chat and the
second for a high shot on Rangi Chase. I think I've watched Hock
long enough now to accept that he's always going to be a spanner
short of a picnic. From Hock's brain farts, Josh Griffin scored in
the right corner with many Wigan fans screaming that it was
forward. Referee Thierry Alibert gave it though, but Kirk Dixon
failed with the extras. 12-4 to Wigan.
Wigan straight away it back to that effort with an excellent
try. Brett Finch hit a long cut out pass to the left centre Jack
Hughes and he drew in the last defender before slipping a nice
offload to send Pat over. Good touchline conversion made it 18-4
after 17 minutes. Soon after that, Hughes sent Pat over again but
this time Alibert pinged it back for a forward pass.
It was another 22 minutes before our next try came and it was a
timely effort just before half time. Sam again scored a brilliant
solo effort with his footwook too hot for the opposition to handle.
Pat again converted for a 24-4 half time lead that was the least
You know what it wouldn't surprised me if Waney said to them at
half time, "remember
last year lads?" 22-4 up half time, pretty similar dominance to
this display today but they came back to draw 22 all on that
occasion. Not today though. Bang, bang, bang Wigan had these points
wrapped up within 11 minutes of the restart with three quick tries.
First on 44 minutes a good bomb from Finch saw Sam leap like a
gazelle to claim his hat-trick. Would never have expected him to
take a high ball like that but a hat-trick means he can boast a
massive 78 tries in his Wigan career after his 100th appearance.
Pat off the sideline made it 30-4.
Then Sam was the creator. Chiming at the line he had been greedy
bastard self to be honest in not passing out wide but you don't
mind that because he reversed out the cul-de-sac he'd put himself
in, went left, stood up the defence then seemingly had a bit of an
irish riverdance jig, which was apt because he sent Pat over in the
corner Needed some scoring by Paddy but the determination was their
for all of us stood in that corner to see. Sam's efforts creating
that took the piss out Cas to be truthful and the Wigan fans were
enjoying his display in comparison to a lack-lustre man of steel in
Amber and Black. Richards meanwhile, oof did he have his weetabix
this morning or what. Another brilliant touchline conversion made
Next it was Leuluai who was the creator with his break of the
line helping send Charnley racing into the right corner. His pace
burnt off the last defenders, poetry in motion that kid. Pat swung
his boot towards another touchline conversion but this time it
shaded in front of the posts. 40-4 Wigan.
I did think Wigan would push on towards 60 odd points to be
honest in the last half hour, but like I said Cas to me shut up
shop and decided to limit the damage. I mean at one point they were
inside our half and just grubbered into touch to make us scrum down
from deep. That tells you the mentality they had. I think all
afternoon they didn't actually buckle too much up the middle,
that's why I don't think so much that Wigan switched off. It was
out wide that we absolutely killed them.
Anyway whichever way you think, the result was never in doubt
and I think more impressive was out determination to hold them to
four points in the last half hour. They had a good couple of
chances but our defence was too good!
Then in the last minute we wrapped up the result with Charnley
getting his second off the back of more good work from Sam. Pat
nailed another sideline kick to make it 46-4 in the end. Brilliant
afternoon with the boot for Pat, despite that one miss.
So a good afternoons work, which sets us up nicely for the visit
of the only side left with a 100% Record, Catalan Dragons, to the
DW next Sunday. Should be a cracker, bring it on!
Oh ps....bit of
a concern to see Tommy limp off late in the game. Didn't look too
clever to me, perhaps a knee injury? Hope its not to serious!
Darrell Goulding also came off on the hour but I think that was
pre-caution after the late fitness test I mentioned earlier. Gareth
Hock filled in at centre in the last quarter of the game.