by Seb Sternik
WIGAN PUT ON A VALIANT EFFORT DESPITE INJURIES
With nine first team players out of action, four of whom are England internationals, winning against an in-form Castleford Tigers side was always going to be a tough challenge. And although Sean O’Loughlin, Joe Burgess, Micky Mcllorum and Lewis Tierney are all close to making a return, Shaun Wayne had to field a side far from his strongest. Despite that, Wigan put on a valiant display and at times really threatened that Castleford defence. Supporters will certainly be hoping for some better team news when they welcome St. Helens to the DW Stadium next Friday.
TIGERS DEFENSIVE DISPLAY WAS A CLASS ABOVE
While their attack was far from best, in defence, Castleford were sublime. Wigan enjoyed a much better start to the game and forced the visitors to defend for their lives. Ryan Sutton and Sam Powell both came close to scoring however, both were held up over the line with the Tigers producing some classy goal line defence. This provided a good platform for Castleford who later got a foothold in the match and were able to take the lead through Jake Webster.
MORGAN ESCARE PROVING HIS WORTH?
The 25-year-old produced another good outing for Wigan last Thursday. The former Catalan Dragon scored all of Wigan’s 10 points and looks to be enjoying his rugby since coming to Lancashire in October. Many believe that the Frenchman has only scratched the surface in terms of his ability, and when his side finally return to full strength, we can certainly expect him to get even better.
CASTLEFORD TITLE FAVOURITES?
Following Thursday’s victory many bookmakers have Daryl Powell’s side as favourites to win the Super League. Even though it’s still early doors, it cannot be denied that the West Yorkshire side have been impressive. The next few weeks will be a testing time with games against local rivals, Wakefield Trinity, an away meeting with St. Helens and a visit to fourth placed Hull FC. Should Castleford’s phenomenal form continue, they will certainly be one of the main candidates to lift the Super League trophy for the very first time.
IN THE SHEDS
There were no immediate injuries to report from the game and no incidents that would call the RFL to look back on this week.
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane:
“They are flying at the minute and playing a great brand of rugby.
“Our one-on-one defence was poor and the way we ended our sets was not good enough. They’re a good team and you need to make sure you finish your sets.
“The players are hurting, it was a tough game to lose, but we look forward to next week.”
Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell:
“I thought it was an awesome performance. The tough edge we’ve got as a defensive team shows we’re growing all the time.
“I think this was our best win of the season because of the nature of it. We’ve had victories where we’re superb with the ball but tonight, just the sheer guts and determination gives us more belief that we can be there at the end.
“If we keep defending like that, teams will find it hard to break us down. It was one of the best defensive efforts since I came to the club. The boys have really bought into the way we’re defending and that’s really pleasing from a coaching perspective.”
Wigan Warriors: (4) 10
Tries: Escare 2
Goals: Escare 1/2
Castleford Tigers: (14) 27
Tries: Webster, Gale, Sene-Lefao, Eden
Goals: Gale 5/5
Drop-Goal(s): Gale 1/1
Wigan Warriors: Escare; Davies, Forsyth, Isa, Marshall; Williams, Leuluai; Nuuausala, Powell, Flower, J Tomkins, Farrell, Sutton.
Replacements: Clubb, Tautai, Gregson, Bretherton.
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Gale; Massey, McShane, Cook, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner.
Replacements: Sene-Lefao, Moors, Springer, Chase.
Referee: Robert Hicks
Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan
Date/Time: Thursday 6th April 2017 – 20:00pm GMT