Agar encouraged as Wakefield Wildcats ease by Castleford Tigers

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WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats continued their preparations for Super League XVII with an encouraging 40-20 victory over derby foes Castleford Tigers at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Sunday.

Richard Agar’s men dominated for long periods and chalked up eight tries against an error-strewn Tigers side, who were only able to threaten the Wakefield try-line in short spells either side of half-time and late on with the game over as a contest.

Danny Washbrook set the ball rolling with a brace of first-half tries, while Paul Aiton also crossed the whitewash and the impressive Isaac John comfortably converted all three to give the hosts an 18-4 lead at the break.

Former Wildcats second row Brett Ferres had kept Tigers in it with a try just before the break after Ben Cockayne spilled a deep Rangi Chase kick.

Ian Millward’s men continued their improvements early in the second half when Stuart Jones crashed over the line.

But four tries in 15 second-half minutes saw Wildcats to victory. Richie Mathers, Cockayne, Ali Lauitiiti and Vince Mellars put the result beyond doubt before Motu Tony completed Wakefield’s tally.

Tigers did claw some points back through Lee Mitchell and Steve Nash but the damage had already been done.

“The scoreline’s not really an issue for us,” said a pleased Agar.

“I think just the improvement in our overall performance was exactly what we were looking for. We had a tough game in Catalan and there were some reasons for that. We were a little bit lightweight, we’d had a really tough week of training and we played a really, really good team. There were certain things we needed to improve in our defence that we felt would give our attack a much better chance.

“I felt we played nice, patient and controlled rugby in the first half and probably with a bit better finishing could have had another couple of tries.

“The biggest improvements for me undoubtedly were the way we controlled our ruck defensively a lot more. Generally our defensive efforts through the centre of the field were a lot more controlled.”

He continued: “We’re a new team and playing together is going to be very important for us.

“We’ve been very limited in doing that up to now, so there’s always going to be things we can improve on, there’s certainly things out of today that we can improve on but we known it’s going to be a long process,”

Wildcats: Richie Mathers, Peter Fox, Dean Collis, Vince Mellars, Ben Cockayne, Isaac John, Tim Smith, Kyle Amor, Paul Aiton, Steve Southern, Danny Kirmond, Ali Lauitiiti, Danny Washbrook. Subs: Kyle Wood, Kyle Trout, Paul Johnson, Adam Slater, Lucas Walshaw, Andy Ellis, Motu Tony.

Tigers: Richard Owen, Ryan Shaw, Joe Arundel, Josh Griffin, Kirk Dixon, Rangi Chase, Danny Orr, Jake Emmitt, Ryan Hudson, Steve Nash, Brett Ferres, Oliver Holmes, Ryan McGoldrick. Subs: Stuart Jones, Lee Mitchell, Daryl Clark, Adam Milner, James Clare, Jordan Thompson, John Davies.

Attendance: 2,200.

Referee: Thierry Alibert.

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for full match report, reaction and pictures.