Super League preview: Castleford Tigers V Wigan Warriors

Historically, this fixture is quite easy to call, and you would usually fancy Wigan to win comfortably. However, after a slow start to 2014, and a disappointing loss to Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge, the reigning champions look vulnerable.
In contrast, Castleford have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season and look sharp, organised and motivated under new coach Daryl Powell.
The Warriors are without captain Sean O’Loughlin for this important clash, but are at full strength otherwise, with Josh Charnley and Matty Bowen both recalled. Castleford, with Jordan Tansey, Lee Gilmour, and Jake Webster still injured, have made just one change from the side that took down Hull KR last week.
Powell said: “We are not going to get too carried away, we’re going to focus on every single week and get players improving on a daily basis.
“They are all competing hard across everything that we do at the club; we’ve had a great start and it’s given us a really good platform, but there are tough challenges to come starting with Sunday [against Wigan].”
Opposite number Shaun Wane added: “They [Castleford] can hurt you, they have won all their games and they can play some fantastic rugby.
“You look at Liam Finn who has come from the Championship, he has acquitted himself really well. They have some really good players and it is a difficult place to go mentally and our players need to rise above that and go and perform. I will pick my best team for Sunday because this is our biggest test so far.”

The teams
Kirk Dixon, Michael Shenton, Justin Carney, Luke Dorn, Marc Sneyd, Andy Lynch, Adam Milner, Craig Huby, Grant Millington, Weller Hauraki, Nathan Massey, Daryl Clark, Oliver Holmes, Frankie Mariano, Scott Wheeldon, Richard Owen, Michael Channing, Daniel Fleming, Liam Finn.

John Bateman, Matty Bowen, Joe Burgess, Josh Charnley, Tony Clubb, Dominic Crosby, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Blake Green, Jack Hughes, Jordan James, Michael McIlorum, Eddy Pettybourne, Dan Sarginson, Matty Smith, Scott Taylor, Iain Thornley, Logan Tomkins.

What the bookies think
The bookies, presumably going on past form, have Wigan as clear favourites at 1/2. Castleford are 11/5 to take the two points, while a draw is 25/1. Click here to read our full betting guide.

What the stats say
Castleford are without a home win against Wigan in six games – having lost four and drawn two. The Tigers’ last home victory against the Warriors was 38-18 on 19 March, 2006.
In 37 Super League clashes, Castleford have won on just eight occasions, with Wigan securing victory 26 times. There have been three draws.
Castleford highest score: 38-18 (H, 2006) (also widest margin)
Wigan highest score: 54-12 (H, 2001) (Widest margin: 54-12, H, 2001; 46-4, A, 2012)

What we think
Wigan should just edge it, but Castleford will give them a real run for their money.

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