Wigan survived a late comeback threat from Castleford to return to winning ways with a 32-22 score at the DW Stadium.
Ethan Havard made his return from injury and was named on the bench. Sam Halsall started in the centres. Wigan were without Kaide Ellis and Brad Singleton due to suspensions. Toulouse kicking-winner Harry Smith was also named on the bench.
For Castleford, Jake Mamo and George Griffin made their returns. Kenny Edwards started in the back-row, while skipper Paul McShane was named in the halves.
The Tigers added the early pressure and were rewarded with a penalty. Gareth O’Brien converting from in front for an early 2-0 lead just eight minutes in.
Warriors score first
Wigan crossed for the first try of the evening through Zak Hardaker, scoring his 500th point for Wigan. The former Leeds and Castleford man going over in the corner thanks to a sweet cut-out pass from Cade Cust.
Field looked dangerous for the hosts and his break led to Wigan’s second try on 23 minutes. The full-back beating McShane to cut through the defence and he found Liam Farrell in support. Hardaker converting for a 10-2 score.
Castleford hit back just five minutes before the break through Greg Eden, who looked dangerous throughout the first 40. Jake Trueman’s pass found his winger unmarked to go over for a 10-6 score.
Mahe Fonua was the next victim of the dreaded yellow cards, sent off with just 90 seconds of the half left for a late shot.
HT: Wigan 10-6 Castleford
It took Wigan just four minutes into the second half to use their man-advantage. Havard scoring under the posts on his return for a 16-6 score.
Field further extended Wigan’s lead with a fantastic individual break from the kick and crossing under the sticks for 22-6.
Farrell grabbed a brace on 55 minutes, before George Griffin hit back for Castleford two minutes later with a strong run for a 28-12 score.
Castleford threatened a late comeback with Jake Trueman crossing to cut the deficit to just 10 with 15 minutes remaining.
That comeback looked even more promising for the travelling supporters. Centre Mamo made it a six-point game with a 28-22 score on 68 minutes.
However, that comeback hit a wall when Brad Martin was sent from the field with a red card for a bad high shot on Willie Isa. Wigan opting for the two to make it 30-22 with seven minutes left.
Four minutes later, Hardaker converted two more and that was enough to return to winning ways for the hosts.
FT: Wigan 32-22 Castleford
Wigan: Field, Hardaker, Peace-Paul, Halsall, Marshall, Cust, Leuluai, Smithies, Powell, Byrne, Farrell, Bateman, Ise, Subs: Mago, Smith, Partington, Havard
Tries: Hardaker, Farrell (2), Havard, Field
Goals: Hardaker 6/7
Castleford: O’Brien, Eden, Fonua, Mamo, Olpherts, Trueman, McShane, Griffin, Lawler, Smith, Edwards, Blair, Westerman. Subs: Faraimo, Hepi, Matagi, Martin.
Tries: Eden, Griffin, Trueman, Mamo
Goals: O’Brien 3/5
Promising signs for Castleford
There were some positive signs for the Tigers. They looked almost gone in the second half before threatening a late comeback. Lee Radford’s side caused Wigan some trouble in defence. Joe Westerman had a strong game, while Mamo also looked dangerous with ball in hand and crossed for a try. Winger Eden also showed some good signs, making several breaks down the edge and scoring in the first half.
More yellow card talk
It will be nice when we can finish a game of rugby league and not talk about yellow card decisions. However, here we are…
Fonua was sent from the field for 10 for a ‘late tackle’ against Field in the second half which had all fans and players alike in disbelief. During their 12-man period, Castleford conceded two tries.
However, there would be no arguments for Martin’s red card…
🗣️"That's just not a sin-bin" 🤯
Mahe Fonua is sent to the sin-bin for a late tackle on John Bateman. pic.twitter.com/MJ3kSvwqk3
— Sky Sports Rugby League (@SkySportsRL) March 17, 2022
Wigan back to winning ways
Peet’s side returned to winning ways following their first defeat of the season at Catalans last weekend. Field and Farrell impressing. However, there will be plenty of improvement left in the side.