Wigan slipped deeper into crisis after losing 30-24 in their crucial Friday-night encounter with their relegation rivals Castleford at the JJB Stadium.
While the Tigers' fifth win of the season lifted them to the heady heights of seventh, the Warriors remain rooted to the foot of the table, six points behind the bookmakers' relegation favourites with the halfway mark fast approaching.
The Warriors had the early encouragement of winger Mark Calderwood's first try for the club on his return from injury, but quickfire scores from Michael Platt and the 38-year-old Brad Davis enabled Castleford to take a 22-12 lead into the break. And the home side could only muster a four-pointer from Nathan McAvoy and a last-gasp effort from Mickey Higham for all their second-half pressure.
With second-bottom Catalans Dragons immune from relegation, it is going to take every bit of Brian Noble's coaching genius to prevent the most famous club in the game, complete with new signing Trent Barrett, playing National League football next term.
"We need to recognise our backs are against the wall at the moment and we need to roll our sleeves up a little bit harder for the full 80 minutes," said Noble.
At the other end of the table, Leeds kept in touch with leaders St Helens thanks to a 36-24 win over Harlequins, but Bradford lost more ground after slipping up 28-12 at Hull. The Rhinos were not at their best just five days after their 44-16 defeat by Warrington but showed enough flashes of individual brilliance to canter to victory and complete the double over Quins.
A pair of tries from hooker Matt Diskin just before half-time looked to have put Leeds in complete command, but the Londoners raised their game and outscored their hosts in the second half, largely through the efforts of their impressive stand-off Henry Paul. Leeds' win was tarnished somewhat by a biting allegation made against their 19-year-old winger Lee Smith which is set to be investigated by the Rugby Football League. The Harle-quins winger Nick Bradley-Qalilawa made the complaint to referee Ronnie Laughton five minutes from the end and the incident was placed on report.
Hull extended new coach Peter Sharp's honeymoon by a further week after a tremendous performance against Bradford at the KC Stadium. The Great Britain scrum-half Richard Horne took the honours with two tries and centre Kirk Yeaman continued his stunning start to the season with two more touchdowns to take his tally to 19 as Hull made it five wins in a row to move to within a point of the third-placed Bulls.Reuse content