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Warriors tame toothless Tigers
Lauaki scores two early tries to set leaders on their way
Wigan opened up a five-point gap over second-placed Warrington with a comfortable 40-16 win over Castleford at the DW Stadium.
Tongan prop Epalahame Lauaki rumbled over for two early tries to get the Warriors off to a flyer against the depleted Tigers.
Lauaki had managed just one try in 27 Super League appearances for Hull in 2011 but he scored his first for Wigan - on his 23rd appearance - after only four minutes and two minutes later doubled his tally.
Winger Iain Thornley then marked his debut with a third try to put Wigan 16-0 up inside 10 minutes, but they were made to work for the rest of their tries by a Tigers side hit by the withdrawal of three players on the day of the game.
The Warriors, who had scrum-half Matty Smith making his home debut, produced a mixed show on their first appearance at the DW Stadium since crashing out of the Challenge Cup and succumbing at home to Bradford in Super League.
They lost centre Darrell Goulding to injury in the first half and also lost their way after establishing that early cushion.
Castleford coach Ian Millward was forced to field a patched-up side after losing his new half-back pair of Jamie Ellis and Rangi Chase, with forwards Stuart Jones and Oliver Holmes filling in at centre and stand-off respectively.
They looked in danger of being over-run after Wigan's early scoring burst but went on to play their part in an entertaining encounter.
The impressive Thornley twice got away down the wing but demonstrated his inexperience by failing to make the most of the opportunities and the visitors took advantage of the let-offs.
Castleford pulled a try back three minutes before the break when winger Rhys Williams was put into space by Jordan Thompson and wrong-footed Sam Tomkins.
Nick Youngquest added the conversion but there was just time for Wigan to score a fourth try through makeshift centre Liam Farrell after they had kept the ball alive following the sounding of the half-time hooter.
The Tigers battled their way to another try early in the second half when Holmes got the first touch to Ryan Hudson's grubber kick to the line and Youngquest's second goal cut the gap to just eight points.
But Wigan's evergreen centre George Carmont produced a strong finish to claim his side's fifth try on 57 minutes and Tomkins took an inside pass from a busy Thornley to go over on 66 minutes.
Tomkins then got Charnley over for his 31st try of the season and, after gutsy Cas pulled another try back through Jones, Tomkins grabbed his second after scooping up Harrison Hansen's pass by his bootlaces.
The England full-back then added a fourth goal to take his points tally for the match to 16.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalan Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalan Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
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