Castleford gained an idea of the size of the
task awaiting them in next month's Challenge Cup semi-final after
being outplayed by their last-four opponents in Good Friday's Super
League clash at the JJB Stadium.
At least the Tigers will be on
neutral territory when these sides meet again on April 13 but they
will need to find a cutting edge to their attack and stop the supply
of ball to pacy winger Brett Dallas if they are to stand a chance of
Twice the former Australian Test star was left with clear runs to
the line after Wigan produced some slick handling to carve the
visitors' defence apart.
Wigan's touches of class were interspersed with some very ordinary
passages of play and they, too, will be looking for a significant
improvement ahead of their Headingley duel.
Coach Stuart Raper, mindful of Monday's derby at St Helens, rested
Craig Smith and Mick Cassidy and also took the opportunity to bring
full-back Kris Radlinski off at half-time, when the Warriors were
comfortably placed at 18-0.
The changes did not help them find the cohesion that has been
missing for the most part of the season so far and key signing Julian
O'Neill, in particular, has yet to win over the Wigan faithful.
Yet Wigan still had too much guile and power for a one-paced
Castleford side, who have reached the last four of the Cup but have
managed to pick up a solitary point from their first four League
The Tigers matched the home side for the opening quarter and
hooker Wayne Bartrim missed a chance to give them the lead when he
was wide with a 10th-minute penalty.
A first Super League try by 20-year-old second row forward Steven
Wild, deputising for Cassidy, broke the deadlock after some smart
work from skipper Andy Farrell and scrum-half Adrian Lam.
Wigan looked most dangerous through the right-wing partnership of
Great Britain duo Paul Johnson and David Hodgson and they combined
superbly after 28 minutes to get Radlinski racing over for a second
There was also a touch of class about Wigan's third try, with
Farrell, Jamie Ainscough and Terry Newton producing some superb
handling and offloading to give the speedy Dallas a clear run to the
When Ainscough powered his way over within two minutes of the
re-start, Wigan were leading 22-0 but they twice spilled possession
near their own line and Castleford took advantage to restore some
pride with tries from Michael Eagar and Jon Wells.
Bartrim was unable to add any of the conversions and Wigan pulled
further away with Dallas racing in for his second and Johnson
claiming a sixth try and Farrell kicking his fifth goal.
The Tigers managed another try through winger Darren Rogers but it
was merely consolation and they finished a well-beaten side.
Wigan: Radlinski, Dallas, Ainscough, Johnson, Hodgson,
O'Neill, Lam, O'Connor, Newton, Bibey, Wild, Furner, Farrell.
Replacements: M. Smith, Carney, Howard, Haughton.
Castleford: Lennon, Pryce, Eagar, Wells, Rogers, Orr,
Healey, Sykes, Bartrim, Lynch, Fritz, Harland, Hudson. Replacements:
Smith, Warren, Godwin, Sampson.
Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens).