Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar says his side must tighten up defensively if they are to start climbing the Super League table.
Wildcats fell to a 41-34 defeat against Warrington Wolves at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Sunday and although Agar praised his side’s attack and battling spirit, he says there is plenty of room for improvement in defence.
“We were probably happy with large parts of our attack and I thought we came back really well,” he said.
“We started a bit soft and sloppy but after 20 or 25 minutes we warmed into the game and certainly with our second half performance we toughened up a lot. But unfortunately, defensively we’re a little bit off at the moment and against a team with as much attacking quality as Warrington the last thing we needed was to give them a start like we gave them.
“I applaud my boys for their tenacity in coming back and I thought we showed a great endeavour in attack again and we always look like we’ve got points in us, but at the moment we’ve got to keep working on our defence.”
The windy conditions had an impact on the kicking games of both sides throughout the 80 minutes. Warrington twice kicked out on the full from kick-off and Paul Sykes failed to find touch with a late penalty that would have put Wildcats in good position for a crucial late try.
“It certainly impacted on that (Sykes’s penalty) but we probably tried to bite off a little more than we could chew at that moment in time and certainly didn’t need to do that,” he said.
“I think we’d back ourselves in scoring in a set of six from anywhere. You probably look at that and the way that we turned the ball over on a couple of occasions.
“We felt we had a lot of momentum in the second half and a couple of times our last play options were pretty poor and we had a tap penalty start where we knocked on and a play where we failed to find touch.
“There was just too much looseness in some of those areas to really sit in that changing room and argue that it was one that got away. While we applaud our resilience and some of the football we played to get back in the game, we probably weren’t tight enough in some of the ways we turned it over and some of our kicks.”
Wildcats opted for Lee Smith to plug the gap at full-back in the absence of Richard Mathers and Agar was pleased with his performance.
“One thing Lee certainly gives us is plenty of threat and speed on attack and I thought we saw a couple of his decisions today were real quality and he came up with a couple of plays at the end,” he said.
“Defensively, full-back is a tough spot to play in terms of organising the defensive line and getting that right and he made a good fist of it for his first attempt this year, but I think he’ll get better as the weeks go by.”
Wakefield’s only injury concern was to Sykes, who had an X-ray on a head injury after the match.
“Paul Sykes has got a little bit of a concern,” said Agar. “He’s going to have to go and get an X-ray on his head, he’s got a slight indentation in there so we’re going to get that checked out.”