Castleford Tigers: '˜Best of the season' too hot for Wigan to handle
Tigers were without half-backs Ben Roberts and Luke Gale and key forward Junior Moors, but – inspired by a hat-trick from 18-year-old full debutant Jake Trueman – they led 20-0 at the break and were 26-0 ahead before Wigan staged a brief rally.
“I thought the first half was one of the most controlled performances we’ve had all year, regardless of who was playing,” Powell said. “I thought defensively we were superb in the first half. I thought all along if we could win this one it would be a huge, huge win for us and it was an outstanding performance for about 60 minutes.
“We had about 20 minutes of madness in there, but it is pretty tough to keep a team like Wigan quiet for 80.”
Trueman set up the first try and scored the next three and Powell said: “He looks comfortable. You can see he has this level mapped out – and not too far down the track.
“He is a very good player with a lot of smart things about him.”
Tigers were 10-0 ahead inside 16 minutes, both tries coming from kicks close to Wigan’s line.
Trueman put in the first – on a free play – which Greg Eden touched down and then Adam Milner dabbed the ball over the line and the teenager was there to score. The second try came after Tigers had twice opted to run a kickable penalty when Nathan Massey was taken out after he passed. The incident – involving Wigan’s Tony Clubb – was placed on report.
Four minutes into the second quarter Trueman reacted quickly to dive over after Anthony Gelling had knocked down a pass by Mike McMeeken.
Castleford went 20-0 ahead through more magic from Trueman who dummied past Sam Tomkins to complete his hat-trick and McShane landed a second conversion.
Tigers added a fifth try just six minutes into the second half when Greg Minikin crossed from Webster’s pass and Paul McShane converted from the touchline.
Castleford switched off when they were assured of the win against Leeds in their previous game and it was a similar story as – between the 53rd and 62nd minutes – Tom Davies and Sam Tomkins scored back-to-back tries and then Thomas Leuluai went over, George Williams converting twice, to make it 26-16.
Grant Millington and Jesse Sene-Lefao held Tony Clubb over the line with 14 minutes left and a try then would have set up a grandstand finish, but Michael Shenton stepped through the defence for a brilliant solo touchdown which put the result beyond doubt.
Wigan scored a consolation try through Willie Isa, but with seconds left Minikin ran on to Zak Hardaker’s kick from the base of a scrum and McShane added his fifth conversion after the hooter.
Wigan’s defeat keeps Wakefield Trinity in the top-four race, but they need St Helens to lose to Salford Red Devils on Thursday.
Wigan Warriors: S Tomkins, Davies, Gelling, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leuluai, Nuuausala, McIlorum, Clubb, Bateman, Farrell, J Tomkins. Subs Sutton, Isa, Powell, Tautai.
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker, Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden, McShane, Trueman, Millington, Milner, Foster, O Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs Sene-Lefao, Cook, Springer, T Holmes.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).