Wigan Warriors 6 Castleford Tigers 4: Powell inflicts defeat on Tigers
This was not the high-scoring thriller witnessed in West Yorkshire, but it was full of effort and intensity.
The Tigers led 4-0 at the break thanks to two Peter Mata’utia penalties in a less than thrilling half with very few chances.
Castleford dominated the opening stages without creating too many chances as Wigan struggled to launch any attacks of their own.
The only try of the game came after 53 minutes when Powell decided to go from dummy half and caught the Tigers defence napping to make it back-to-back wins for the defending champions.
After a drab 16 minutes, Wigan appeared to take the lead with Zak Hardaker claiming he had touched down following a George Williams kick. Video referee James Child had other ideas and ruled the full-back had failed to ground the ball.
Castleford took the lead in the 25th minute with Mata’utia slotting over a penalty after some interference from Williams.
Chris Clarkson went agonisingly close to scoring on the last tackle, but he was halted by a good two-man tackle Tigers ended the half the strongest.
They extended their lead three minutes before half-time with Mata’utia adding another penalty after the Warriors were penalised for a ball steal.
The Tigers went close to extending their lead even further when Jake Trueman made a half break and sent a no-look inside ball for Mata’utia to race onto; unfortunately for the visitors he dropped the ball in the tackle.
A knock on from Tuoyo Egodo inside his own half gave the Warriors a crack at their line. That gave the home side the break they needed as Sam Powell forced his way over from close range for the opening try of the game on 53 minutes. Hardaker converted as Wigan now led 6-4.
The wet conditions prevented this from being a free-flowing game with both teams unable to keep hold of the ball. Egodo almost made up for his earlier error as he drove hard towards Wigan’s line, but he was halted by a great tackle from Chris Hankinson.
The game was still in the balance heading into the final 10 minutes, the Tigers almost went back in front as James Clare opted to run on the fifth, but he was brought down metres short.
Wigan then blew a great chance to put the game to bed, as the Tigers defence opted to let a Hardaker bomb bounce and Joe Burgess collected a tip on from Oliver Gildart and looked certain to score, but he decided to turn the ball back for Williams who dropped it with the line at his mercy.