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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Shaun Wane's home finale may be hard on Castleford

Wigan coach could be given a fitting send-off at DW Stadium

Wigan's Oliver Gildart touches down against Wakefield last month
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Betfred Super League
Sky Sports Arena & Mix, 7.45pm Friday

Castleford suffered the agony of Betfred Super League Grand Final disappointment a year ago and this season the Tigers look set to fall at the final hurdle before Old Trafford as Wigan look to give departing coach Shaun Wane a fitting send-off in his final home game at the helm.

Wane has been part of the Wigan furniture for 30 years as player and coach and the Warriors are 4-6 to ensure his last game as boss is at the Theatre of Dreams before he heads for pastures new in Scottish rugby union.

The Wigan coach recalls captain Sean O'Loughlin, Liam Farrell and Thomas Leuluai, who all missed the 14-12 victory over a Hull last week.

That was the Cherry & Whites' eighth straight success, one of which was a 24-22 victory over Cas at the DW Stadium.

It was a more comfortable win than the scoreline suggests. Wigan led 20-0 at half-time and a Tigers try with the final play of the game led to a flattering margin of defeat for Daryl Powell's men.

The Castleford coach is missing ace half-back Jake Trueman but has skipper Michael Shenton, Oliver Holmes, Mike McMeeken, Matt Cook and Greg Eden back after they were rested for the loss at St Helens, one of only two defeats in the last eight outings.

Winger Eden was the top tryscorer in the Super 8s, notch­ing 12 times in six matches. The only time he drew a blank was in the game at Wigan. He's 13-10 to rectify that and 9-1 to open the tryscoring.

It's entirely possible that the first points will come from a penalty. Both teams can be expected to take the chance to edge in front if it's offered and it's worth betting that a two-pointer arrives before a try.

All six semi-finals that have been played under the current Super League format prior to this season have been won by the hosts.

Wigan have been victorious twice, 28-18 over Hull in 2016 and 32-8 against Huddersfield the previous year.

The wide-margin win over the Giants has been the exception rather than the norm in these crucial matches.

The average score has been a 23-15 win for the home side, so backing the Warriors to get home by a dozen points or fewer at 15-8 is a tempting proposition.

Like coach Wane, Wigan stars Sam Tomkins, Ryan Sutton and John Bateman are all leaving the club at the end of the year and Bateman is worth backing at 12-1 to say farewell to the DW with a man-of-the-match display. He has taken the individual honours twice in TV games in 2018.

Recommendations
Wigan to win by one to 12 points
2pts 15-8 Betfair, Paddy Power
Wigan penalty first score
1pt 5-1 Betfair, Paddy Power
Castleford penalty first score
1pt 5-1 Betfair, Paddy Power
J Bateman man of the match
0.5pt 12-1 general


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It's entirely possible that the first points will come from a penalty and it's worth betting that a two-pointer arrives before a try
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