TIGERS BEAT DOWN THE WARRIORS
Castleford Tigers defeated the Wigan Warriors 36-22 in a edgy game down at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Friday night. The Tigers led throughout the game, but were never really clear until the final moments. It was a brilliant result for the Tigers who have now beaten the top two sides in the League in their opening two games of the Super 8’s.
It was a great start for the Tigers, who defended well early on, they then piled the pressure on the Warriors. Manfredi was forced to leave the field after just 6 minutes, after a nasty looking injury to his leg. Only minutes later, Tigers opened the scoring through a superb 90 metre try from Solomona. A penalty slotted over 5 minutes later put Castleford 6-0 ahead. Wigan seemed to be no match for Castleford during the majority of the first half, they were being outdone in every department, mainly down the middles.
Tigers extended their lead on the half-hour mark when Paul McShane darted over from dummy half catching the Wigan defence cold. It was too easy, and I’m sure head coach, Shaun Wane wouldn’t have been pleased with it. Wigan managed to get a try back before half-time, when Matty Smith ran at the line and when his intended pass was knocked back, Sam Powell was there to pick up the scraps and go over for the try. Wigan came close towards the end of the half, but couldn’t quite get through the stubborn Tigers defence. Castleford led 12-6 at halftime.
SECOND HALF FIGHTBACK
Wigan started the second half on the front foot, putting Castleford under pressure early on. However, following some poor discipline, Castleford found themselves uphill, and extended their lead to 18-6, following a huge bomb from Luke Gale to which Solomona was the first to react as he jumped the highest and placed the ball down for a great try. Wigan responded within minutes through the unlikely scorer of Ben Flower. The forward was just on as a sub and forced his way over for the try.
Wigan could never get level in the game, and yet again it was Tigers who scored next in this seesaw game. It was that man Solomona again, who went over for his hat-trick with a superb acrobatic effort in the corner. Tigers led 24-12 with 25 minutes to go. This game was a real rough and tough one from start to finish, and I’d of been surprised if there wasn’t a bit of biff in the game. That came on the hour as both Dom Crosby and Oliver Holmes where sent to the sin-bin following a heated confrontation. Gale kicked the resulting penalty to further their advantage.
A fantastic 10 minute period for Wigan saw them score back to back tries through Bateman and Mossop to claw their way back in the game, which they still trailed 26-22 with 10 minutes to go. Wigan were really putting the pressure on now and looked likely to grab a winner. However, the Tigers stayed strong and defended well when asked too. Castelford then finished the game with back to back tries of their own in the final 2 minutes through Hampshire and Holmes. This sealed a fantastic 36-22 victory for the Tigers and end their 3 match winless run against the Warriors.
WHAT COULD’VE BEEN AND WHATS TO COME
When you look at the performances and results that Castleford have put in these past 2 weeks, the mind boggles as to why they are not challenging much closer for a play-off position. On paper, they have a fantastic side, and a great coach in Daryl Powell. It’s sheer inconsistency that has cost them. They have patches where they can lose 4 or 5 in a row and it pegs them back massively. It really is a case of what could’ve been for Tigers this season.
With the return of Chase, and if they really do manage to keep hold of their main man, Solomona, then they could be a real threat next season. Powell has talked openly about their poor defence and how they have targeted that part of their game to work on more than any other. If they can get their defence more solid, then they will be a tough team to beat next season.
As for Wigan, they could move down to 3rd if Warrington win away at Wakefield on Sunday. Wth Saints to come at home next week, a loss there would knock them down to 4th. With away days at Hull and Warrington to come, it’s going to be a tough run in for the Warriors now. Especially with the improved performances by Saints of late. Wigan haven’t been great all season, and I think it’s all starting to catch up to them now. Earlier in the season, a game like Friday night, they’d of won late on, instead they lost it late on.
Castleford Tigers head coach, Daryl Powell:
“Its tough to enjoy it when you’re coaching, and making decisions. It got real edgy, that was an edgy game from start to finish. We got to a period were we was right under the pump and we did exceptionally well to get out of it.
“I never really enjoy them, and when they’re that close, you’d rather be playing that sat on the side coaching, thats for sure.
“There was a lot of quality in our play tonight, and we are a real threat with the ball, a real threat. We keep working on our defence and we are getting much better with that each game, which gives us a better chance of winning more games.
“Since we got beat by Warrington here, we’ve put a marker down for ourselves that we wanted to improve our defence and give us a better chance of winning games against the better teams in the league.
“We’ve just beaten 1st place and 2nd place in the first two games, thats got to give us a great deal of pride and confidence. Now we’ve just got to keep going, we have Warrington away next and we’re in a place now were we can go there with every chance of winning that game with the way we are playing.
Credit to BBC Radio Leeds: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p044jfg4
Wigan Warriors head coach, Shaun Wane:
“We could have (won), we didn’t play that well. We had a bit of disruption with Dom (Manfredi) going off injured but we still had chances to grip that game and we didn’t.
“I’d have been satisfied if we’d have played better for longer periods, we had a 20 minute spell in the second half where we defended well and attacked the way we can and we posted points so there’s lessons to be learned and we’ll have to dust ourselves down and get ready for Friday.”
“I thought we got out-enthused in that first quarter which is not like us.” Wane said.
“They had loads of momentum and we didn’t deal with it well. We eventually got a foothold in the game and posted some points but when you come here you have to be squeaky clean and sadly we weren’t today.
“We started soft, I asked for a response at half time and I got one, I thought we went at Castleford in the second half but at the end of the day they were good for the win.
Credit to Wigan Warriors: https://www.wiganwarriors.com/news/2016-08-13-better-for-longer
IN THE SHEDS
Dom Manfredi left the field after just 6 minutes with a serious looking injury. Was later confirmed by head coach, Shaun Wane that it was an ACL injury, and a bad one at that.
The tackle that ultimately injured Dom Manfredi by Rangi Chase, is reported to be looked at by the RFl. From my viewpoint, it looked a hard, but fare hit by Chase. I have yet to see a proper replay of the tackle to add much more.
There were two sin-bins in the game, Dom Crosby for Wigan and Oliver Holmes for Castleford after a bit of biff following a Castleford error. I can’t see the RFL handing any further punishment to either player.
Castleford Tigers: (12) 36
Tries: Solomona 3, McShane, Hampshire, Holmes
Goals: Gale 6/8
Wigan Warriors: (6) 22
Tries: Powell, Flower, Bateman, Mossop
Goals: Smith 3/4
Castleford Tigers: Dorn; Hampshire, Crooks, Minikin, Solomona; Chase, Gale; Springer, Milner, Patrick, Holmes, Savelio, Moors.
Replacements: Jewitt, McShane, Cook, Millington.
Wigan Warriors: Tomkins; Charnley, Gelling, Sarginson, Manfredi; Williams, Smith; Crosby, Powell, Flower, Bateman, Isa, Sutton.
Replacements: Farrell, Mossop, Tautai, Nuuausala.
Referee: Joe Cobb
Venue: The Mend-A-Hose Jungle, Castleford
Date/Time: Friday 12th August 2016 – 20:00pm GMT