Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar was delighted with his side’s improvements in their 36-20 victory over Hull KR on Saturday.
Agar was scathing of his side in their opening day defeat at Bradford Bulls, especially their attitude and physical approach in the forward pack, but reserved plenty of praise for his troops as they chalked up their first win of Super League XVIII.
“It was loads better,” he said. “We thought we’d prepared alright for last week. We thought our attitude was good in training but obviously it let us down on game day, but I think we had a really good couple of attitude sessions in the week where we ripped into each other and I thought it was apparent from the word go we got a really good control of that area.
“I thought for the first 30 minutes we really dominated that aspect of the game, controlled the ruck really well and got the field position and we felt it would tell later in the game.
“With us sometimes when we get it wrong we get it horribly wrong and we conceded a couple of soft tries and the sin-bin didn’t help us. But I’m pleased with the way that when we got in a tight game we didn’t let it affect us and we were good enough to come through at the end and put it away pretty comfortably.”
The return of influential half-back Tim Smith was a big plus for Wakefield, as was the sight of prop Andy Raleigh returning to the fold.
Both players played key roles in Wildcats’ success, and Agar was pleased to see a return to the hard-working approach of his side that gave Smith a platform to work his magic.
“Last year we did pride ourselves on being a hard working team and we just didn’t work hard enough in that area and were prepared to get in that physical contest enough [against Bradford], but we did tonight,” he commented.
“We did against quite a big, physical pack and I thought for large periods of the game we did dominate that area and it gave us a better platform.
“I thought our kicking game went awry a bit for a period in the second half but we got that back on and managed to get some good ball and Timmy’s a player that if you give him enough people around him and a bit of a platform, he can come up with some good plays.”
The Wildcats coach was also full of praise for winger Ben Cockayne, and the Robins fans, who chipped in with a hat-trick of tries against his former club.
“Hull KR fans are really appreciative of Ben Cockayne and I think that’s great in the modern day game that opposing fans respect players that have given their all for other clubs because it doesn’t always work that way,” he said.
“I think that’s a great tribute to the Hull KR fans but I’m sure they’ll be cursing him a little bit.”
Wildcats now travel to London Broncos in Round 3 next Sunday and Agar hopes his players, and Wildcats fans, are buoyed by the performance and points against Rovers.
“It’ll do us good to get that win in front of our own fans,” he said.
“I think there were plenty of people that would have been very quick to come out of the woodwork and have a crack at us last week, and right so, we asked for it, but hopefully we’ve seen that we can be a really competitive team if we get certain elements of our game in order.”