Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar said he was angry and disappointed with his side’s error-strewn performance in their 23-23 draw with Salford City Reds on Sunday.
Wildcats needed a 78th-minute Paul Sykes drop goal to rescue a point against a struggling Reds side that had Wakefield-born Alan Hunte in caretaker control for the first time following the sacking of Phil Veivers.
Agar had no complaints over the scoreline and was scathing in his assessment of his side’s showing against a team who were propping up the rest of Super League going into the contest.
“I’m disappointed with our performance,” he said.
“I’m not disappointed we didn’t get the win, I’m disappointed and probably a little bit angry about where we played, certainly our first half showing. I thought we found a little bit more enthusiasm in the second half but I thought that was lacking in the first half and I’m more looking at some of our senior guys.
“There were far, far, far too many errors and I thought once they got their second try it visibly lifted them and got their tails up a little bit and we knew we were in a contest from there and I thought they worked really hard.
“Our enthusiasm lifted in the second half but the quality of our performance didn’t. We committed less errors but what we did with the football and the way we ended our sets left a lot to be desired and wasn’t really like us to be honest. I feel we’re a team who know how to attack but we lost our way and lost our way really badly.”
Unlike encouraging performances, despite slender defeats, against Catalans Dragons and Huddersfield Giants in Wakefield’s previous two matches, Agar also felt his side lacked the right mental attitude against a side who had won just one of their opening five matches of the season.
“I think we’ve had a really good attitude the last two weeks and not come away with any spoils, and perhaps today some of the guys felt we could turn up and just go do the minimum of what we needed to do,” commented the Cats coach.
“Rugby league doesn’t work like that and if you’re prepared to roll your sleeves up and carry the ball hard and tackle hard then you’re always going to give yourselves a chance and I just felt we’d too many players not willing to do that enough today and too many players whose performances were not of the standards what we expect in our team.
“I thought in the last 15 or 20 minutes when we had a weight of possession when they kept kicking out on the full, structurally our offence went apart. We can’t just expect to throw the ball to Dean Collis and Ali Lauitiiti and expect them to come up with something, I think we need to dress it up a little bit more than what we did.”
Agar refused to blame any controversial decisions, such as whether Marc Sneyd’s penalty kick late in the first half was on target, for the below-par showing, instead focusing fully on his own side’s failings.
“To be honest I’m not even focusing on whether it went over or not because I feel that’s irrelevant,” he said.
“It may well have got us an extra point on the scoreboard but we’d rather look to ourselves than look to any refereeing calls and suggest that they were the difference between the two teams.
“We could have handled today a lot better than what we did and you wouldn’t even have been asking me that question now.”
Few players came away with any credit, including Tim Smith, who suffered a calf strain, with Agar saying Wakefield’s star man was off his usual pace.
“I thought Timmy was down, he’s very much a key player for us and he’s been in good form for a long time but I felt he didn’t start the game as well as he could have done,” said Agar.
“He’s still got that ability, even when he’s not on top form, to lay on some terrific tries like he did and that’s probably an indication of where Timmy’s at with his game that he can set the tries up like he did and we can still feel that he’s performed a little bit under.”
Skipper Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne and Andy Raleigh were big misses for Wakefield through injury but Agar revealed Kyle Amor was left out to due to disciplinary issues.
Agar said: “Kyle Amor was left out because we felt that his standards had dropped on a couple of issues. Non-playing related issues just issues in terms of one or two little professionalism issues and it’s happened more than once so we felt that it was the right thing to do for our team this week.
“He’s cut a couple of corners and we weren’t happy about it so it was his turn to sit out this week.
“We talked about it in the week. We felt it was a letdown for us. It was nothing major before you all go trawling on the internet and searching Twitter accounts to try and find out what he’s done wrong. There’s been no fights, no alcohol, no drugs or any other salacious misdemeanours like that, just some housekeeping things that he’s fallen down on and fallen down on them too many times.
“We knew it would hurt our team today with Raleigh out and Kirmond out, we knew it would take a chunk but we feel we’ve got to adhere to some of the rules and regulations and standards we expect from our players and he’s fallen short of them so we left him out.”