Wigan winless run extended by Leeds, Castleford hammer Huddersfield
Super League champions Wigan Warriors' winless run was stretched to three matches as they were defeated 26-18 by Leeds Rhinos, while pacesetters Castleford Tigers routed Huddersfield Giants.
The Warriors had been held to a 16-16 draw by Huddersfield and beaten by Hull FC in their last two matches, and a repeat of the 2015 Grand Final also went against them.
Leeds held a slender 14-12 advantage at the break, Kallum Watkins' 70-metre break sending Ryan Hall over, with Joel Moon also crossing in the first half as Ashton Golding converted both tries and added a penalty to ensure the hosts led after 40 minutes despite George Williams' double.
But the first half was most notable for a lucky escape for Brett Ferres, the forward only seeing yellow for an apparent 'crusher' tackle - the Leeds man picking Oliver Gildart up and dropping his weight on the Wigan centre's neck.
Gildart eventually came off in the second half with reported back spasms, and a Golding penalty and a try in the corner from Watkins - playing in his 200th game for Leeds - gave the Rhinos an eight-point lead.
Liam Marshall cut that gap to two but Wigan could not complete a comeback as Carl Ablett sealed the points for Leeds late on.
63: TRY CAS!!! Watch that on the highlights because Chase has just had the Giants pants down as he set Monaghan up for a try pic.twitter.com/y48lvV0Dvp-- Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) March 31, 2017
Castleford remain top, however, ahead of Leeds on points difference after hammering Huddersfield 52-16.
The Tigers led just 16-4 at the break but Luke Gale and Joel Monaghan each scored second-half hat-tricks in a blistering showing from Castleford.
Gale's treble saw him move onto 101 career tries before Monaghan had the final say by completing his three-try haul with two in the final 17 minutes - the first of that pair coming after Rangi Chase dummied his way through the Huddersfield defence.
The Giants are winless in their last five and sit third bottom in the table.