AWESOME Wigan racked up their third straight Super League win by running in eight tries to crush Castleford.
Sam Tomkins scored a hat-trick on his 100th Wigan appearance and Pat Richards contributed 22 points with a two tries and seven goals to wreck Castleford’s hopes of a first home victory of the season.
The Tigers were 12-0 down after just eight minutes and never looked like winning an emotional game with their head coach Ian Millward on compassionate leave following the sudden death of his 19-year-old son Robbie.
A minute’s applause was held before the game in Robbie’s memory.
Acting coach Stuart Donlan took charge of Tigers for the first time in his fledgling coaching career in Millward’s absence.
Winger Nick Youngquest made his first Castleford appearance of the season having been sidelined with an ankle injury.
Australian centre/back-rower James Grehan, signed from French club Limoux, was named on the bench.
Epalahame Lauaki replaced prop Ben Flower in the only change to Wigan’s starting line-up following their 54-16 win at Bradford. Young prop Tom Spencer took over from Lauaki on the bench.
Wigan looked dangerous from the start and caused Castleford’s defence problems by moving the ball wide at every opportunity.
They took a third-minute lead when Sean O’Loughlin scooped up a loose ball to slice through from 25 yards out for the opening try that Richards converted.
They wasted another golden chance when Brett Finch and O’Loughlin split open Castleford’s defence, but Tomkins’ pass to the unmarked Richards was blatantly forward.
Tomkins quickly made amends when he punished the Tigers for losing possession by side-stepping his way over for an eighth-minute try that Richards again improved.
Castleford rallied and cut the gap to eight points with winger Josh Griffin’s sixth try in four games this season.
Wigan were penalised for a high tackle on Rangi Chase 15 yards out before Chase and Richard Owen linked to put in Griffin at the corner.
Castleford’s joy was shortlived because Wigan soon stretched their lead to 18-4 when Brett Finch and Jack Hughes sent in Richards who added his third goal.
The Tigers had a let-off when Richards went over again from another Hughes pass but this time it was ruled forward.
With half-backs Chase and Danny Orr prompting tirelessly, Castleford tried to haul themselves back into the game and Ryan McGoldrick was foiled by a Finch’s try-saving tackle close to the line.
But they fell further behind two minutes before half-time when Tomkins dummied his way through cleverly for his second touchdown that Richards converted to make it 24-4.
The Tigers were soon under the cosh again in the second half.
Tomkins completed his hat-trick by capitalising on Michael’s McIlorum’s neat kick before Tomkins bamboozled the home defence once more to put in Richards for his second try.
The one-way traffic continued when slick handling saw Warriors winger Josh Charnley dive over the corner. Richards spoiled his perfect goalkicking record by missing the difficult conversion.
Little seemed to go right for Castleford who looked out of sorts.
Tigers loose-forward Stuart Jones appeared a certain scorer until he inexplicably looked for support and was hauled down 20 yards from the line.
Wigan completed the scoring in the last minute when Tomkins put in Charnley for his second.