WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar admitted his side were fortunate to turn a below-par performance into two big points against Widnes Vikings on Sunday night.
Skipper Danny Kirmond’s late try ensured Wakefield limped to a sixth straight win and a place in the Super League play-offs as they edged out a spirited Vikings side 22-18 at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium in their penultimate match of the campaign.
Agar was well aware of the deficiencies in his team’s performance and said the importance of the game may have had an impact on his charges.
“I think both coaches will be frustrated and really disappointed with the amount of skill that both the teams showed,” he said.
“I thought both teams showed plenty of effort and I thought our effort defensively was there for the most of it. But what we did with the ball, in skill and composure, we lacked any imagination.
“I just thought our offensive game was a complete write-off and we’re lucky to get away with it on the back of the amount of errors that we’ve made and the amount of defending we’ve had to do.
“To be fair our attacking game is something that’s really evolved during the year, we’ve worked hard and it’s been very good for a long time.
“Whether there was some anxiety playing tonight, a little bit more of a pressure game. I guess the results went for us and we had a later kick-off. Whether that had an impact on the players I’m not too sure but being in it at this stage of the year, we’ve got to handle it a lot better.”
Although the job is far from complete victory in Wakefield’s final home game of the regular season, which saw Wildcats into the top-eight, should have been a cause for celebration in the dressing room post-match.
But Agar admitted his side were disappointed at their performance, saying: “There’s almost a feeling in the changing room of a loss.
“I think at the start of the year we would have settled for any win, so I think for the lads to be disappointed, we said ‘don’t be disappointed because we’ve shown enough qualities in there for the third week running to come in a tight game late and that is a good quality to have’.”
Wildcats will have to improve if they’re to seal their place in the play-offs with victory at Salford City Reds this weekend.
However, they could already be in the top-eight before they kick-off if Bradford Bulls fail to beat Catalans Dragons just a few hours earlier.
That won’t make any difference as far as Agar is concerned, with the Cats boss demanding an improved showing not only to see off Salford but to take the momentum into the post-season.
“We’ve got a game next week, we want to get in there and get a result and take any doubt out of it,” he said.
“We’re certainly not going to rely on anyone else. We’ve come too far now, we’d like to think we can get a result next week and get in the eight. [We want to] have a crack when we’re in there as well, we don’t want to limp in and just be happy that we’ve got in there.”
He added: “We know we can do a lot better than that, we don’t want to leave too much doubt next week, we know we’ve got another team with reasons to play in that they’re sending off some of their team-mates for the last time.
“For ourselves, we want to go in [to the play-offs] on a more positive note than that.”
Agar reserved special praise for Kyle Wood, who “brought a little bit of a different threat and dimension offensively” and came up with the winning play to assist Kirmond for his late try.
The Cats coach also said centre Dean Collis should be fine to feature against Salford after suffering “a sore head” from a collision in the first half.
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest Wakefield Wildcats news.