WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar was full of praise for his side’s improved defensive play and entertaining attack in their 38-18 victory over Leeds Rhinos on Monday night.
Wildcats secured just a second home Super League win from 16 attempts against the Rhino in front of the Sky cameras to end Leeds’ six-game winning run and gain revenge for defeats earlier this season in the league and Carnegie Challenge Cup.
It was also Richard Agar’s first competitive victory over Leeds as a head coach.
It brought back-to-back wins for Wakefield and sets them up nicely for this weekend’s derby clash with Castleford Tigers.
And although Wakefield’s performance wasn’t perfect, Agar was pleased with plenty of aspects of his side’s play.
“I thought defensively for the second week we’ve actually defended alright,” he said.
“We’ve shut a load of off-loads down, we’ve forced some errors on our own try-line and I thought defensively we were pretty good.
“I thought their points came about from a couple of real hashes that we made of things but I thought we played some good football again, I thought we played some entertaining football and some good football.
“Perhaps in the first half we didn’t quite execute as clean as we would have liked to but overall we showed a real tendency to use the ball and play to our strengths. I think that’s been the key for us for a while, playing to our strengths.”
Agar has always said that Wakefield, who saw a huge turnaround in players during the close season, are a ‘work in progress’.
And he believes Wakefield fans are now starting to see the team he’d envisaged at the start of the campaign.
“I think the last two weeks we’ve defended as well as we’ve defended and we’ve found our style,” he commented.
“We’ve found that playing to our strengths is a handful for most teams if we get enough of the ball and probably for the first half of the season we didn’t see enough of the ball and we were getting used to each other.
“One of the goals we set is if play-offs are out of our reach we want to be a real competitive team that can chalk up as many wins as possible and if we can do that then we might look back on the second half of the season and say we have been that team we want to be.”
Kyle Wood came on and had a positive impact on Wakefield’s second-half performance, scoring one try and having a big hand in another.
But he was just one of a number of players Agar reserved special praise for post-match.
He said: “Kyle had a big impact and I thought Andy [Raleigh] did really well in the first half.
“I thought our full-back [Richie Mathers] was outstanding tonight, I thought he was tremendous. He took some outstanding kicks, he marshalled us on line really well, he carried the ball strongly and came up with some breaks and half breaks and I thought he was ably assisted by Ben Cockayne.
“I thought we had a lot of good players out there, I thought Kyle Amor played well and I thought Andy Raleigh played well as well.”
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