Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar was left to praise his side’s “effort, commitment and spirit” despite suffering a 52-18 reverse at St Helens on Friday night.
The task was always going to be a tough one for Wakefield with five key players missing through injury, leaving Agar to field a young and much-changed side at Langtree Park.
That side kept in-touch with Saints for more than an hour before a more experienced home side upped their gear in the latter stages to post a score that flattered Nathan Brown’s men somewhat.
Agar could not fault his side’s showing and focused on the positives from the performance rather than the negative scoreline.
“As a coach who has had his charges let in fifty points, I thought our effort, commitment and spirit were tremendous,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the scoreline probably blew out in the last fifteen to twenty minutes and a lot of class from the other team told on the scoreboard in the end.
“To come here with such a depleted team and so much quality and experience out of the side, I thought our guys gave it their all. As a coach that’s all we can ask for. I thought for an hour, maybe more, we were very competitive and I thought we gave everything.
“Sometimes you can glance at scoreboards and think ‘What’s gone on here?’ or that Wakefield have been touched up but do you know what, I think we’ve come here tonight with everyone expecting us to get touched up.
“They’ll have looked at our team and focussed on the players that weren’t playing. I’d like to focus on the players that played tonight and gave their all and despite the scoreboard, I’m very proud of their effort.”
Victory for Saints, aided by superb full-back Jonny Lomax, who scored a hat-trick of tries and kicked eight from nine conversions, was their first on home soil this season.
“I was happy for the fans that we got that win at home, it was good,” said head coach Nathan Brown.
“I wasn’t worried about it though when things weren’t looking so good earlier in the season. Yes, I would have liked to have beaten Huddersfield and Leeds but we’ve had to make some adjustments to how we have played.
“Doing that in the run of a season takes a little time but I knew the guys would adapt and they are doing. There is still lots of improvement in us too.”