SCRUM-HALF Luke Gale blew Wigan Warriors away as Castleford Tigers broke their Super League duck with a stunning 42-14 rout at the Jungle last night.
Gale had a stormer, producing a clever kicking game, including a superb 40-20, distributing the ball well and landing seven goals from eight attempts.
Along with half-back partner Liam Finn, he called the shots behind a pack who dominated despite the absence of injured prop Andy Lynch and an injury to Junior Moors.
Listless Wigan had nothing to offer and never looked like getting out of jail after Tigers had raced into a 10-0 lead before Wigan had been in possession of the ball.
Wingers Justin Carney and James Clare crossed inside the opening five minutes, the former swatting off Josh Charnley and the latter diving over brilliantly after Grant Millington had moved the ball wide.
Cas went further in front after 13 minutes through a second Carney touchdown, the Aussie this time carrying Charnley over the line with him. Charnley gained a measure of revenge with a try after 18, but Castleford missed several chances before striking again on the stroke of half-time.
The most notable was when Ben Roberts – who returned from injury off the bench and was used as a replacement hooker – got over the line and was held up by John Bateman and Taulima Tautai.
That could have been crucial, but Dorn – who made his first appearance of the season and was a huge threat to Wigan every time he carried the ball. – dummied to Carney and went himself for a brilliantly-taken try in the 40th minute.
Joel Tomkins’ dissent gifted Tigers two more points at the start of the second half and they remained in command despite Charnley pulling a try back for the visitors, to make it 24-8, with half an hour left.
Liam Finn collected his own grubber kick off Michael McIlorum for a fortunate try and then the same player’s kick was spilled by Charnley to hand Oliver Holmes an easy touchdown, which he deserved for a strong performance in Tiger’s dominant pack. Dorn made an eye-catching return and his break led to Tigers’ seventh try, Holmes putting Michael Shenton, who later went off with a disclocated shoulder, over.
Matty Smith scored a consolation try, which he also converted, on the final play, to sarcastic cheers from Cas fans.
Castleford coach Daryl Powellsaluted the victory saying: “For the players to express themselves the way they did was outstanding.”
Castleford Tigers: Dorn, Clare, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Finn, Gale, Cook, Milner, Millington, Holmes, Moors, Massey. Subs (all used) Roberts, Boyle, Wheeldon, Crossley.
Wigan Warriors: Bowen, Charnley, Gelling, Sarginson, Manfredi, Powell, Smith, Clubb, McIlorum, Mossop. J Tomkins, L Farrell, Bateman. Subs (all used) Williams, Tautai, Patrick, Greenwood.
Referee: Tim Roby.