MICHAEL Maguire admitted Wigan were “ugly” as they battled to the Super League summit last night.
The Warriors were far from at their best as they overcame Castleford 26-16 to leap ahead of Warrington in the ladder.
Aside from a 24-hour spell last month, this was the first time the champions have been on top.
But they had to come from 16-10 behind at half-time, with a three-try salvo early in the second-half swinging the game into their favour.
Maguire said: “It was an ugly one for us, but credit to Cas, they came and they performed very well.
“I thought we probably made a meal of that first half, we had a good chat at half-time and spoke about what they needed to do, and we were lucky to get the points.”
Gareth Hock suffered a groin strain, just a few minutes after coming off the bench in only his second game since returning from a two-year doping ban, and is a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Harlequins – Wigan’s third game in nine-days.
“We’ll assess that tomorrow, and see where we’re at,” added Maguire.
The Tigers had their chances to win the game, and were fuming that Brett Ferres had a try ruled out, with video referee Phil Bentham ruling he had not grounded the ball.
Maguire admits Wigan were “a bit lucky at times”, but praised his players’ resilience for keeping the visitors out in the entire second-half.
Castleford coach Terry Matterson moaned about the refereeing display from Steve Ganson, and revealed the club had complained to the RFL about the scheduling of last night’s fixture – which was postponed from February due to Wigan’s involvement in the World Club Challenge.
“We did complain to the RFL, we’ve got a tough (Cup) quarter-final against Huddersfield and they’ve got one against Warrington –why not give the option.
“Maybe the DW wasn’t available, but your ground should be available all the time.”
Matterson thought Ferres should have been awarded a try, adding: “We couldn’t get a 50-50 call all night.”
Andy Coley (suspension) and Pat Richards (rested) missed last night’s match, but are expected to return to face Harlequins away this Saturday.