WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar has lauded his side's efforts in securing a club record seven straight Super League victories.
The 42-34 victory over Salford City Reds in Leigh last night gave Wakefield their first seven-run winning streak since Super League started and their first since 1983 in the old Second Division.
The run has catapulted the Rapid Solicitors Stadium club into what looked like an unlikely Super League play-off spot earlier this campaign and Agar was full of praise for his troops in achieving a top-eight finish.
"It's helped cap a good season for us, hopefully there's a little bit more in it," he said.
"We're in the play-offs and the post-season competition and that in itself will take on its own journey. For us to record seven wins on the trot, for any team in this competition to record seven wins on the trot is a good feat.
"We've looked at the halfway point, the Magic Weekend game, as being probably a little bit of a turnaround in us getting a settled side and the win that probably kick started our season.
"We're right up with Wigan on points accrued from that moment, we've accrued 20 points since the Magic game which was around the halfway point of the season. Wigan, I'm taking the for and against out of it, Wigan have got 20 as well so I think we've shown for half a year that our form has been right up there with the very best teams in the competition which is tremendous.
"We've had some close games, we've had some close wins and some close losses but I think that's just an indication that we're a really competitive team."
Wakefield were well aware they'd secured a top-eight spot before kick-off at Leigh Sports Village. Bradford Bulls' defeat at Catalans Dragons just an hour before kick-off meant that Wildcats couldn't drop out of the eight no matter what happened against Salford.
It spurred Agar's men on in the first half as they stormed into an 18-0 lead and comprehensively led 24-12 at half-time. The Cats coach says there's still room for improvement going into the play-offs however, after his side gifted late tries to the Reds to take the shine off the win.
"We obviously got the news before the game about the Bradford game," he commented.
"A few of us watched the end of it on the television here [at Leigh] and it was something we addressed with the boys and I thought our season starts again from tonight. I thought our first half performance reflected that, I thought it had no impact on our boys whatsoever. I thought we went out and did a really really good job on them."
On the late tries conceded Agar said: "I'm incredibly disappointed, it took the shine off what was for 70 minutes a really solid and competent display.
"We didn't have a lot of ball in the second half but we did execute our chances when they came our way exceptionally well tonight so to concede like we did, I thought they were soft and I thought there were some individual errors in there that really let the team down in the last ten minutes, I thought they were extremely soft.
"But we are where we are and if we can learn from that then that'll be great moving forward because it took the gloss off what I thought for 70 minutes was a very competent display with some very well executed and well taken tries in there."
Wakefield will have scrum-half Tim Smith in top form ahead of next Saturday's play-off game at champions Leeds Rhinos. He played another big part in Wildcats' tries against Salford and Agar described his performance as "outstanding".
"I thought both of our half-backs tonight were good," he said.
"In the first half a couple of our kicks could have been a little bit better but his [Smith's] ability to create, he's smart around the field and again he's probably the best passer of the ball in the game. He really is on good form at the moment and he's playing with terrific confidence."
See next week's Wakefield Express for full match report, more reaction and pictures from Leigh.