Wigan Warriors reignited their push for a Super League play-off place with victory against the fifth-placed Castleford Tigers on a day which could have huge ramifications on the race for the top six.
Following a disastrous run of recent form during which Adrian Lam’s side failed to score a point in the last five halves of rugby they had played, the Warriors knew another defeat here could have left them slipping to sixth, and increase the risk of them missing out on the play-offs. In plaas daarvan, they ended the day in fourth with three rounds to go and are now a strong bet to avoid a late scramble to make the top six.
Egter, Castleford’s recent good form came grinding to a halt here. They would have moved to fourth with a win but instead, following results elsewhere, they are now once again in the mix for what appears to be the last two spots inside the six alongside Leeds, Hull KR and Hull FC.
The Tigers were nowhere near their best here, offering up a number of crucial opportunities the Warriors were only too happy to capitalise upon. “It’s been a rollercoaster season but to come here and win to a zero scoreline is outstanding,” Lam said.
This result will have also eased the pressure on the Wigan coach himself after a disappointing few weeks. In a physical and error-strewn first half in West Yorkshire, there was only one try scored. Mercifully for the Warriors, after a run of more than 200 minutes without a try, it was the visitors who scored it when Jackson Hastings barged across the line to break the deadlock.
Castleford’s response was fairly anonymous on a day when they could have made it five consecutive victories. “We were so poor,” their coach, Daryl Powell, gesê. “That was tough to watch and so far away from what we’re capable of delivering.”
Such was the level of their performance, by the time Liam Marshall collected a loose ball to double Wigan’s lead, the Tigers’ race felt run. But the Warriors were not done, on a day when they revived their hopes of a push for the Grand Final.
Hastings and Harry Smith combined to send Oliver Gildart in for a well-worked finish, and there was still time for another Wigan try in the final minutes. It came when Olivier Partington’s pass sent Brad Singleton through to put the seal on a fine day for Lam and his side.