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Thursday 22nd April 2021 Wigan Warriors 22 Castleford Tigers 12 DW Stadium, Wigan Betfred Super League - Round 4 of 25
Kick Off 6:00pm
- Wigan - Castleford 3 Zak Hardaker T G3 1 Niall Evalds 22 Jake Bibby 2 Derrell Olpherts T2 11 Willie Isa 3 Peter Mata'utia 12 Liam Farrell 4 Michael Shenton 1 Bevan French T2 23 Greg Eden 20 Harry Smith 25 Jordan Turner 31 Jackson Hastings 6
9 Sam Powell T 9 Paul McShane G2 17
13 John Bateman 11 Oliver Holmes 15 Morgan Smithies 12 Cheyse Blair 14
Interchange: 10 Joe Bullock 10 Grant Millington 19 Liam Byrne 13 Adam Milner 21 Ethan Havard 26 Lewis Bienek 25 Joe Shorrocks 28 Brad Martin
Back at the DW Stadium for only the second time in 13 months, Wigan made it four wins from four in Super League with an excellent hard thought victory over a Castleford side that had also come into the game with a 100% record.
I felt pre game that this would be a step up for Wigan on what they'd face before and so it proved. It was a good arm wrestle but Adrian Lam's side once again did not score any points in the opening quarter. The earliest they've scored in any match was the 19th Minute against Leeds last week. A strange quirk but it also alludes to a strong bench and increased fitness as matches wear on.
With an early 6pm kick off the setting sun was strewn across one half the South Stand end Wigan were attacking first half yet Wigan constantly kept kicking towards the shaded side of the pitch rather that test Castleford with sun in the eyes.
Most of the first half was seeing midfield ping pong but the odd penalty or set restart was what was creating attacking opportunities.
Or indeed a 40/20 for Cas in the 11th Minute eventually led to the opening score for Derrell Olpherts. Expecting the kick they went right and Olpherts was over in the corner with Bevan French leaving a big gap. French was clearly defending almost under the feet of Zak Hardaker in a full back position early on but after that 40/20 he was kept further wide. Good conversion by Paul McShane made it 6-0.
Wigan responded in the 24th Minute with Jackson Hastings leaving McShane for dead with nifty footwork breaking a good 30-40 metres to get Wigan inside the 20. He was eventually collared by Oliver Holmes but damage was done. Wigan swung right and Harry Smith dropped the shoulder then beautifully oflloaded whilst stumbling to get Zak Hardaker over for his fifth try in five games. Zak also converted for 6-6.
Wigan requlished the lead with a penalty goal on 31 minutes but re-took the lead three minutes before half time with quick hands left from Smith, Hardaker and Liam Farrell got French over for his first try of the season. Wigan's goal kicking rate had plummeted to 58% in the last couple of weeks but Zak nailed this one off the touchline for 12-8 at half time.
I felt the signs were showing that Wigan were getting on top towards the end of the first half and the try Castleford got on 48 minutes to draw level was against the run of play. They returned a Wigan kick 60 metres down the left to get on the attack and we never recovered with Olpherts claiming a second on the right from a kick. McShane missed conversion left the scores at 12-12.
It was unlucky because that break had come from a great kick from Hastings that was right on the try line but Hardaker just couldn't take in. Very unlucky it was returned like it was but the next attempt by Hastings was wonderful and pin point.
Hardaker should have been trapped in his own right corner but broke clear 50 metres to get Wigan across half way. Hastings spotted Castleford's defence was short but rather than go with hands, he put in a kick towards the left that bounced perfectly for French to claim his second try. Hardaker's conversion was off but to quickly get back in front after conceding was important.
A four point lead was always sweaty for Wigan but they seemed comfortable with it for most of the remaining 28 minutes. They had wasted a few opportunties to seal it before they eventually did with a close range crash over by Sam Powell four minutes form time. Hardaker converted to complete a 22-12 win.
All in all an excellent victory against a stong Castleford side and it was the bench that proved the difference for me. Joe Bullock's time was limited but he put himself about for it and once again Wigan got stronger as the game went on. Time will tell if not scoring early will eventually cost but the formula is working at the moment thats for sure.
15th Minute Wigan 00 Castleford 04
Try: Derrell Olpherts
Wigan 00 Castleford 06
Conversion: Paul McShane (1/1)
24th Minute Wigan 04 Castleford 06
Try: Zak Hardaker
Wigan 06 Castleford 06
Conversion: Zak Hardaker (1/1)
31st Minute Wigan 06 Castleford 08
Penalty Goal: Paul McShane (2/2)
37th Minute Wigan 10 Castleford 08
Try: Bevan French
Wigan 12 Castleford 08
Conversion: Zak Hardaker (2/2)
Half` Time Wigan Warriors 12 Castleford Tigers 8 48th Minute Wigan 12 Castleford 12
Try: Derrell Olpherts (2)
Wigan 12 Castleford 12
Missed Conversion: Paul McShane (2/3)
52nd Minute Wigan 16 Castleford 12
Try: Bevan French (2)
Wigan 16 Castleford 12
Missed Conversion: Zak Hardaker (2/3)
76th Minute Wigan 20 Castleford 12
Try: Sam Powell
Wigan 22 Castleford 12
Conversion: Zak Hardaker (3/4)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 22 Castleford Tigers 12 Referee:
0 (Non Fans in Attendance due to Covid-19 Regulations)
Betfred Super League 26 - Round 4 Results
|Thu 22 Apr||Wigan Warriors 22 Castleford Tigers 12||0|
|Thu 22 Apr||Huddersfield Giants 10 St Helens 18||0|
|Fri 23 Apr||Hull Kingston Rovers 26 Leeds Rhinos 6||0|
|Fri 23 Apr||
Salford Red Devils 34 Leigh Centurions 8
|Fri 23 Apr||Hull FC 20 Wakefield Trinity 14||0|
|Sat 24 Apr||Catalan Dragons 8 Warrington Wolves 24||0|
2020 Betfred Super League 26 Table - After This Round
|-||Team||P||W||D||L||F||A||Diff||Pts||Diff %||Pts %|
|7||Hull Kingston Rovers||4||2||0||2||79||84||-5||4||94.5||50|
|9||Salford Red Devils||4||1||0||3||50||114||-64||0||43.8||25|
Top 6 Qualify for Play Offs /
Bottom Club Relgated