Wigan have yet to learn this
season that a good 10 minute spell, which they produced second
half, is not enough to win rugby league matches.
But in truth
the team is undoing any hard work with abysmal execution. The half
backs Tim Smith and Thomas Leuluai are not producing anything
unless it's an individual effort like when Tommy scored his try.
Really poor last tackle options time and time again.
Twice in the first half Smith kicked out on the full and Tommy
also put in a kick towards the sticks which was like a drop goal
attempt without attempting a drop goal (bet thats makes no sense
lol). Not even the 100 metre world record holder could have raced
onto the kick it was so bad.
I felt sorry for Feka tonight because he was doing what he
should always be doing. Racing onto the ball and battering at the
defence. But he had little support from senior partners Stuart
Fielden and Biscuit Legs Andy Coley.
Mark Riddell tried his utmost but his ideas at hooker aren't
working either. Biggest cheer he got all night was when he
attempted a goal kick and stuck his arm out in his trademark
It wasn't all negative though. I thought Karl Pryce and Shaun
Ainscough didn't let us down. Ainscough was outstanding. Great
enthusiasm, a class try and a first half break which his team
mates frittered away. Lovely to see a winger chalk the touchline
and Ainscough wasn't scared of that. Certainly didn't show any
nerves. I watched him tonight and it makes you think why the hell
are we fannying about with Cameron Phelps? And why isn't fellow
youngster Sam Tomkins being given his chance?
Tomkins has to come in next week. Whatever Tim Smith does in
attack is wasted because his defence his amateurish. I texted a
mate second half "Tim Smith can't defend" - next minute Brett
Ferres was fending him from 10 metres out and manhandling him over
the try line. Not good enough!
From the start it was clear Wigan were fraught with nerves.
Castleford came out of the blocks and had two early scores ruled
out - first Right-winger
Kirk Dixon was brought back for putting a foot in touch then on
the opposite wing Richard Owen definitely made a double movement
in trying to score. Wigan too had a score chalked off when Shaun
Ainscough was sent over in the corner by Leuluai but Ganson ruled
a forward pass.
Cas eventually took the lead with two penalty goals from Kirk
Dixon. Both from deep but dispatched from in front of the sticks
to make it 4-0. Those kicks had come in the opening twenty minutes
when Wigan struggled to complete a set due to the two kicks out on
the full from Smith and Leuluai's garbage effort to get a repeat
Wigan though would get the games first try. Having got some
good territory, it took an individual effort from Leuluai to go
over under the sticks. He jinked inside to find the gap and Amos
Roberts' conversion made it 6-4 to Wigan.
You'd have thought with a lead Wigan would have settled down
but no they completely switched off and allowed Cas to build a
good lead before half time.
First a kick from Brent Sherwin was touched down by Joe
Westerman then he turned provider for a try which Brett Ferres
finished. With Dixon converting both scores, in the space of two
minutes 6-4 to Wigan had become 16-6 to Cas at half time.
Early second half and just like against Wakefield, Wigan got a
quick score. Leuluai and Smith combined for once to send Karl
Pryce over for a debut try. But from the touchline Amos Roberts
couldn't convert. So back in it at 16-10 and I got the feeling the
Wigan faithful thinking - right come on here we go now. But I was
thinking - hmmm we did this against Wakefield and it did little to
propel us towards victory.
My pessimism proved right because Cas answered with two quick
tries down the left hand side, which was peppered all night. First
Dixon scored then Ferres got a second touchdown as he manhandled
Tim Smith away from ten metres out. Luckily Dixon failed to
convert either score but at 24-10 it now looked a tall order.
The clock was still on Wigan's side though and they eventually
found a good spell of form. They started making breaks and finding
territory on the back of some of Feka's trademark runs.
Wigan would score three tries on the wings - the first two
coming down the right hand side as first Darrell Goulding went in
then Joel Tomkins scored. Nice try from Joel, quick thinking saw
him sneak in from close range. Trouble for Wigan was the tries
were on the touchline which made conversions for the back up
kicker Roberts difficult. He shaded the sticks trying to convert
Goulding's try then Riddell had a go but he too missed. But Wigan
had at least cut the lead down to a converted try.
The potential equalising try was absolute class from Shaun
Ainscough. Deep in our own half it was swung out wide to him on
the left and he chalked the touchline all the way to the tryline
showing no fears. Take a bow kid - superb effort. Again though out
wide Roberts couldn't convert so despite scoring three tries in
eight minutes, Wigan still trailed 22-24, but still had time with
15 minutes left.
In truth though that was the end of that from Wigan. They
couldn't get close enough to threaten Cas. They defended strongly
and most importantly they didn't give Wigan a crucial piggy back
penalty. In fact it would be the Tigers that got a late winning
try from Michael Shenton, but it had come in injury time after
Wigan's last chance had gone.
So three defeats out of three does not make happy reading.
Really not sure if I'm on the sack Noble bandwagon but he has to
give Sam Tomkins a try next week in London. What does he have to
lose? I remember when Wigan were fighting relegation he said "if
we wasn't in a relegation battle I'd have a played a few
youngsters" - hmmm well prove it Brian!