Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar was left to take more positives than negatives from his side’s performance despite seeing Huddersfield Giants maintain their 100 per cent winning start to the season with an 18-16 victory at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Sunday.
Wildcats gave their West Yorkshire rivals their biggest scare of the season so far and could have inflicted a first loss of the campaign on Paul Anderson’s men had Lee Smith not had a last-gasp try ruled out for a forward pass in the build-up.
Agar says there is still room for improvement in his team after four rounds of Super League XVIII but the weekend showing left the Wildcats boss encouraged for the season ahead.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” he said.
“There are things we can improve on but if we continue to play with the same commitment for each other and keep throwing what we’re throwing at teams we won’t go far wrong this season.
“I was really encouraged by a lot of things we did today, while at the same time we knew playing Huddersfield we had to turn the ball over really well and we didn’t quite do that at times and that probably gave up too much position for us and they capitalised on it really well. But as a game it was a good, old fashioned contest.”
Wildcats fans were jumping for joy when Lee Smith dived over the line with one of the last plays of the match only for referee Richard Silverwood to chalk it off for a forward pass by Tim Smith in the build-up.
Agar said scrum-half Smith did not think it was forward, and the Wildcats boss also questioned a forward pass by Luke Robinson for Jermaine McGillvary’s hat-trick try at the other end.
“The guy [Tim Smith] that passed it didn’t think it was forward,” he said.
“Get me on the spot in front of the cameras when the microphones are on and the match commissioner listening at the back of the room I’d say I’m not sure.
“I’d like to measure it to see if it was more forward than Jermaine McGillvary’s and if it’s not, then so be it. If it is then I’ll probably wake up in the middle of the night screaming my head off.”
Huddersfield head coach Anderson said the best team lost over the 80 minutes and Agar said his troops “might have shaded it”.
“We certainly had opportunities to win it, I don’t think that’s in dispute,” he commented.
“We gave ourselves a good chance and I think when you have a look at the 80 minutes we let a couple of opportunities slip.
“We’ll also look to a period in the game ourselves when our passing let us down a little bit and the way we turned the ball over didn’t help us during the game.
“Their first two tries came from not great transition plays where we gave a lot of territory up and we ended up conceding off the back of it but more positives for me in terms of the effort and commitment.
“For long periods we punched holes in them but they defended well as well at times. They made it tough for us to crack them but we had a chance at the end at unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
“There are things we can improve on but if we continue to play with the same commitment for each other and keep throwing what we’re throwing at teams then we won’t go far wrong this season.”
Anderson, the Wakefield-born Giants head coach, said: “With the amount of possession they had on our line, Wakefield deserved to win.
“We committed suicide at times. Credit to Wakefield, they kept plugging away and created opportunities. I’m half-dejected, but I can’t fault our hard work.”