Wigan remain in pole position to claim a home semi-final as they recorded a hard-fought 24-22 win over Castleford in their Super 8s opener.
The Warriors totally outplayed Castleford in the opening 40 minutes and ran in four unopposed tries in front of next season’s head coach Adrian Lam and Shaun Edwards, who will then be in charge from 2020.
The Warriors got off to a dream start. George Williams put over a deft kick for Liam Marshall to hack on and touch down.
Castleford were their own worst enemy as they struggled to keep hold of the ball, the home side took full advantage with Liam Hamlin barging through the attempted tackles of Greg Eden and Paul McShane to score.
Wigan thought they had extended their lead when Marshall grounded a kick through from Sam Tomkins, but the video referee correctly ruled that Joe Greenwood knocked the ball on.
The video referee was called into action again when Joe Wardle appeared to go over in the corner, on closer inspection the centre dropped the ball.
Wigan completed an almost perfect 40 minutes with two more tries with Dan Sarginson completing a neat passing move by going over in the corner, before Ryan Sutton collected the scraps from a Thomas Leuluai kick to go over and help the Warriors lead 20-0 at half-time.
Castleford managed to cross over for their first score four minutes after break with Jake Trueman taking advantage of some poor line defence from Wigan to score to make it 20-4. A penalty from Morgan Escare edged the Warriors even further ahead.
The Tigers refused to lie down and again they showed how dangerous they can be with James Clare collecting a high kick from Ellis to touch down in the corner.
The deficit was then cut to just six points when Jamie Ellis, who was tormenting Wigan with his kicks, saw one come back off the post and straight to McShane for a try to make it 22-16.
A high tackle from Mike McMeeken on Greenwood sealed Castleford’s fate as Tomkins made no mistake in kicking the two to extend their lead to eight points with four minutes left.
The Tigers did have the final say with Clark capitalising on a Tomkins error of judgement, but it was not enough.
Wigan: Tomkins, Davies, Isa, Sarginson, L. Marshall, Williams, Leuluai, Navarrete, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman, Hamlin. Substitutes: Escare, Clubb, Sutton, Partington.
Castleford: Eden, Gill, Wardle, Shenton, Clare, Ellis, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Substitutes: Webster, Moors, Milner, Clark.
Referee: James Child (RFL).