Betfred Super League
Wigan (4) 26
Tries: Williams, Hardaker, Greenwood, Gildart, Smithies Goals: Hardaker 3
Castleford (2) 8
Tries: Blair Goals: Ellis 2

Wigan Warriors maintained their timely winning run going into the Super League play-offs as the reigning champions racked up a 12th victory in 13 games.

But Castleford must now sweat on how Hull FC get on against leaders St Helens on Friday to determine whether they seal a top-five finish – and a place of their own in those play-offs.

A bad night for Cas was made worse by a red card for Jesse Sene-Lefao.

But, by then, rampant Wigan had already scored four of their five tries.

Jamie Ellis gave Cas an early lead with a penalty, only for George Williams’ virtuoso try to put the Cherry and Whites ahead.

Cas old boy Zak Hardaker missed the kick, but Ellis then missed two penalty chances, the second of them right on half-time when he hit the post and the touch judges ruled that it had dropped just the wrong side.

But, from only 4-2 ahead at the break, Adrian Lam’s Wigan the quickly hit top gear after the restart with second-half tries from Hardaker, Joe Greenwood and Oliver Gildart.

The game was already done for Cas when the indisciplined Sene-Lefao was sent off by referee James Child for his needless knee in the face of the grounded Oliver Partington.

Morgan Smithies’ late fifth try appeared just icing on the cake for the hosts. But Cas did at least have the last word when Cheyse Blair crossed with the game’s last play, Ellis kicking the goal.

They now face an anxious Friday night wondering if Hull can cause a shock at the KCOM Stadium and earn the win that would knock Cas out of fifth place.

On a night when inspirational skipper Sean O’Loughlin came off the bench for his first appearance in six weeks, Wigan’s reward is a home ‘second v third’ Qualifying Final game next Friday night back at the DW Stadium against either Salford or Warrington.

Wigan: Hardaker; French, Sarginson, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Leuluai; Clubb, Powell, Partington, Isa, Greenwood, Smithies.

Interchanges: Byrne, Navarrete, Flower, O’Loughlin.

Castleford: Rankin; Clare, Mata’utia, Blair, Minikin; Trueman, Ellis; Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey.

Interchanges: Holmes, Cook, Clarkson, Smith.

Sent off: Sene-Lefao (66).

Referee: James Child.