Wigan are on course to make their now traditional late-season drive for glory after squeezing through the first round of the engage Super League play-offs with an 18-12 win over Castleford.
Without being anywhere near their best, the Warriors saw off Castleford in a scrappy elimination play-off to earn a trip to Hull KR in next Saturday's preliminary semi-final.
Wigan, who went within one match of the Grand Final in each of the last two years, produced a tremendous defensive display in what was almost certainly coach Brian Noble's last home match to keep the dream alive.
Wigan deserved their win after creating more tryscoring chances - second rower Harrison Hansen was held up on his back over the line in the early stages after good work from Thomas Leuluai and winger Pat Richards went close to touching down his own kick.
Castleford's best chance of the first half fell to full-back Richard Owen, whose jinking run to the line was halted by a tremendous last-ditch tackle from Wigan centre George Carmont.
When the deadlock was finally broken on 21 minutes, it was appropriate that the try came from a handling error, Hansen pouncing on a loose ball after Tigers winger Kirk Dixon failed to deal with Leuluai's towering kick to the corner.
The Warriors extended their lead in similar fashion 10 minutes later, Richards cleanly collecting Leuluai's kick to get Carmont over.
Richards kicked both conversions to make it 12-0 at the break and extended his side's lead with a penalty three minutes into the second half.
There was no way back for Castleford when a neat pass by young stand-off Sam Tomkins created an overlap for full-back Cameron Phelps to get winger Amos Roberts over for Wigan's third try on 51 minutes.
Castleford prop Craig Huby brushed aside the challenge of Phelps to claim a try on 61 minutes to give the Tigers hope but only four minutes remained when Owen carved out an opening for Joe Westerman to score a second try, which the loose forward also converted.