Wakefield Trinity boss Mark Applegarth wants players to show more resilience and 'smarts'
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Applegarth was left frustrated at missed chances to score more points against St Helens in their latest game and by defensive errors that led to tries for the visitors in their 32-16 win at the Be Well Support Stadium.
With rivals Castleford Tigers suffering a heavy defeat in what had looked a winnable game at Warrington a day earlier it presented a chance for Trinity to go above their neighbours as their points difference disadvantage had been wiped out.
But despite a big effort it was another home defeat for Wakefield, leaving them still two points behind the Tigers with three games remaining.
“I thought we left some points out on the field,” said Applegarth.
"It’s hard to fault anyone for effort, but we need to work on a bit of resilience if we do come up with an error.
"We came up with four errors that they scored off the back of so we need to have a look at that.
“The key word we keep coming back to is composure.
"We’ve just got to get that smarts about us, get that fixed up, keep that effort where it is. Get that and we’ll get a couple of wins for sure.
"My job is to make sure we unlock why it’s happening.
“For large parts of each half we were the better team, but we were down at 53 per cent completion rate after 28 minutes and you are not going to win a game of rugby league against the champions with that sort of rate.
"Defence, application and effort were there. We’ve just got to look at that ball in hand and make sure we fix it up.”
Applegarth expressed his frustration at losing Will Dagger to a suspected broken collarbone.
He explained: "It's looking like he's got a suspected broken collarbone, which has come from a collision that didn't get seen.
"We're hoping we get some good news, but that could be him for the year."
Applegarth is hoping, however, to have Max Jowitt back from injury to take Dagger’s place at full-back for Friday’s game against Catalans and forward Jai Whitbread, who missed the St Helens game, is also expected to return.
Trinity have closed the point difference gap on Castleford, now down to just six, but Applegarth still reckons the Tigers are in the driving seat.
He added: “I’d still rather be in their shoes, to be honest, with two points in front.
"I don’t really look at what we can’t control. I know it sounds really cliche and boring, but I can’t influence that in any shape or form so I am just focusing on grinding out what we can do.
"There’s six points to play for, two points at a time so we’re just focusing on making sure we put our best foot forward.”