MATCH REPORT – Wigan 10 – 27 Castleford

Three defeats in a row and they haven’t won a game since beating Warrington on the 9th March – crisis? No, not at all – I think most people can see through the current run of games, a run in which Wigan looked like they could and probably should have won most of them, however Thursday night against Castleford, they seemly didn’t look like winning.

Castleford are the best side in Super League and the moment and they proved that again on Thursday night. They were clinical in attack, which we come to expect, but they looked sharper in defence than they previously have. Are they the real deal this season? I certainly think they are a strong top four side and will be challenging in the cup, depending on the luck of the draw. A top two finish for Castleford and I think they will make it to the Grand Final, the top two finish is crucial as it guarantees a home semi-final and I don’t think too many teams would fancy going to the Jungle/Wheldon Road/Mend-a-Hose (Whatever its called today!) in a semi-final.
I mentioned in the match preview, that if Wigan were to have a chance in the game then they needed to get the game played at their pace and make it a niggly contest, they needed to get under the skin of the Castleford players and they should brief signs in the first half of being able to do that but the Gale try just before halftime seemed to sap the belief that was building from the Wigan players and fans alike.

The youngsters played well again, Forsyth, Marshall and Davies are all developing well and add great depth to the Wigan side for later in the campaign. Tautai was excluded from our Man of the Match vote on Facebook, which Morgan Escare won (again) – in hindsight Tautai should have been included and may have won the vote. He had a very good game and provided a good impact from the bench.

At the moment, there are a few players who look in need of a rest of a change of role – Flower and Nuuasala look like they could do with a impact role from the bench rather than starting the game – they have started every game so far this season and at the moment are not providing the kind of impact both can. Sutton, who played at 13 on Thursday along with Navarette could be a good option as a starting prop with three big impacts coming from Tautai, Flower and Nuuasala.

On reflection, I mentioned beforehand that winning against Castleford wasn’t impossible but it was improbable. However, St Helens next up on Good Friday is a must win game (everyone already knows that) but it seems to be the perfect game for Wigan at the moment to get them back in form and with the expected return of Gelling, O’Loughlin and maybe a spell from Mickey Mac – I cant wait! Interestingly, the last time Wigan played Saints at home on Good Friday in 2015, they went into that game in similar form, having lost four from the previous six games in the 2015 season (including *that* Brisbane game, with Gelling etc). Perfect game for a response on Friday and I am confident we will get it.

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