Wigan edge past Castleford in opening Super 8s round

Wigan went three points clear of third-placed Castleford as new coaches Shaun Edwards and Adrian Lam watched on from the stands.

Shaun Wane made three changes to his Wigan Warriors side that beat Catalans Dragons two weeks ago. George Williams, Ryan Sutton and Ollie Partington replaced Josh Woods, Taulima Tautai and Chris Hankinson. Partington made his debut for the Warriors.

Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell also made three changes to his team that won at Widnes Vikings last time out. Jake Webster, Joe Wardle and Kieran Gill came in for Peter Mata’utia, Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e and Calum Turner.

It took just six minutes for the first try to be scored at the DW Stadium. Liam Marshall latched onto a fine chip from Williams to touch down. Sam Tomkins’ conversion attempt hit the post and came back out.

Gabe Hamlin scored another for the Warriors as he crashed through challenges from Greg Eden and Paul McShane to score. Tomkins converted to give his side a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.

Marshall went over again for the hosts midway through the first half but it was chalked off by the video referee due to an earlier knock on from Joe Greenwood.

Castleford’s Joe Wardle had an effort disallowed by the video referee due to him knocking on over the line and that was as close as the Tigers came to scoring in the first half.

Wigan extended their lead as Dan Sarginson sold Castleford a cheeky dummy to dive over in the corner. France international Morgan Escare couldn’t convert.

Sutton marked his return to action with a try. A Tommy Leuluai grubber ricocheted into the arms of Sutton who touched down. Escare made no mistake with the conversion this time around and Wigan led 20-0 at the break.

Castleford scored their first try of the game in the 44thminute. Jake Trueman skipped through a gap in the Wigan defence to score out wide.

Shortly after, the Tigers conceded a penalty goal and Wigan opted to take the two. Escare added the penalty goal, Wigan 22-4 Castleford.

The visitors pulled another one back when James Clare got on the end of a chip from Ellis. Half-back Ellis converted and they were just 22-10 behind with half an hour to go.

Wigan debutant Partington planted a huge hit on Castleford forward Adam Milner in the second half which certainly got the home fans out of their seats.

Castleford got right back into the game on the hour. McShane cottoned onto an Ellis grubber to score. Ellis’ conversion was good and there were only six points in it.

Mike McMeeken gave a penalty away for a high tackle with five minutes left on the cock and Wigan opted to take the two. Sam Tomkins added the penalty goal to edge his side in an eight-point lead.

Castleford scored the last try of the game though through Mitch Clark. The Warriors ran-out 24-22 winners in the opening round of the Super 8s.

With St Helens having lost to Huddersfield, Wigan are now eight points behind league leaders Saints but are three points above third-placed Castleford.

Wigan: Tomkins; Davies, Isa, Sarginson, Marshall; Williams, Leuluai; Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman, Hamlin. Subs: Escare, Clubb, Sutton, Partington.

Castleford: Eden; Gill, Wardle, Shenton, Clare; Ellis, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Webster, Moors, Milner, Clark.

Starman: George Williams was outstanding for Wigan in the first half, but the award has to go to Ben Flower, who ran his socks off in the middle of the park. He put a number of big hits on, too.

Attendance: 10,293

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