Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar said injuries to Andy Raleigh and Frankie Mariano hindered his side’s chances of victory at Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
The pair’s early departures from the thrilling Super League contest, which finished 29-22 to Dragons, saw Wakefield play the last 35 minutes with just two replacements on the bench.
Raleigh left the field after 15 minutes with a knee injury and Mariano suffered a head injury five minutes after the restart.
As well as losing two influential players it also sapped Wildcats’ energy levels in the latter stages, something Agar believes played a part in the hosts coming from behind to bag the points.
“Just after half-time we were left with two replacements on the bench and that really hurt us,” said Agar.
“I thought our energy levels were extremely low and if you add a 12-3 penalty count against us to that as well, then it’s no surprise that we were dead on our feet at the end of the game.”
Wakefield started superbly but saw a 16-0 lead wiped off ten minutes into the second half before Lee Smith’s try and Paul Sykes’s conversion put the visitors back in front with 17 minutes to play.
Former Wildcats winger Damien Blanch levelled things up for the French side before a Thomas Bosc field goal edged the hosts ahead for the first time with five minutes to go and a Jason Baitieri try sealed the win for Catalans as Wakefield’s resilient defence eventually gave way.
Agar took nothing away from the Dragons’ strong finish but bemoaned his side’s failure to extend their 16-0 lead when they were in control of proceedings in the first-half, instead going into the interval with just a six-point lead.
He said: “I thought they came home really strong, and I felt that we had an opportunity to make it 22-0 in the first half but went in at half-time only 16-10 up and we were partially to blame ourselves.”