SHAUN Wane refused to look to Wigan’s short turnaround – or their injuries – for excuses as Castleford cut their lead at the top of Super League to a slender one point.
Rangi Chase steered Tigers around the newly-laid pitch at the DW Stadium from the start and a James Clare try with half an hour to go sealed Wigan’s second defeat in a week.
Castleford led 12-0 at the break and clung on for an 18-4 triumph, Warriors’ first defeat at home this season.
“I thought Castleford were really good. They performed well and defended well,” said Wane.
“They handled the conditions better than us.
“I want to commend them. Daryl Powell’s done a great job while he’s been there and the best team won.”
With Warriors depleted, Wane was forced to hand former Wales RU forward Andy Powell his debut “six weeks earlier than planned”, says Wane.
Powell played 40 minutes in a baptism of fire and Wane revealed he only found out he would be in the frame on Thursday.
“Andy didwell. I wanted to play him in six weeks time but the way our front rowers are going he was the only fit one,” said Wane.
“I thought he ran hard when you consider that this game is really new to him. I was quite happy with him.”
Despite the positive, Wane was unforgiving about the side’s overall showing – with Warriors outclassed for most of their return home after a near two-month absence.
“I still expected us to perform,” he said. “For me to say it was due to playing against Warrington on Monday would take something away from Castleford and I thought they were good. They were the best team we’ve had here this year.
“We lacked a bit of energy and if that’s due to last Monday, I expect us to get over that.
“We are better than that and our standards are higher.”
However ,Wane is confident the display will act as a wake-up call with the destination of the League Leaders’ Shield no longer a formality.
“The players are very honest each other and I won’t see that sort of performance from us again this year,” he added
“Nine errors in the first half isn’t good enough.
“The players have had one of those days. I expect next Friday to be totally different.”
For next week’s visit of Bradford, Wane says there is a slim chance Ben Flower could return and there are no fresh injury concerns.