Wildcats Head Coach, Richard Agar, thought his side’s 18-14 defeat to Batley Bulldogs was a valuable lesson for the younger members of the squad.
Agar fielded a starting line-up consisting of twelve members of the first team squad, and after 50 minutes the Wildcats led 14-6 with the likes of Kyle Amor, Oliver Wilkes and Andy Raleigh all getting some much needed game time ahead of Friday’s Stobart Super League opener against Widnes Vikings (kick-off: 8pm).
The final half-hour saw a number of Academy youngsters take the field and they felt the full force of a Bulldogs fightbag as John Kear’s men claimed a second Super League scalp in pre-season.
“I thought it was a really good hit-out for both sides,” said Agar after the game.
“It was difficult conditions, really heavy going and I thought the first half was really interesting. A couple of our guys came to just dip their toe in the pond a little bit and they got a rude awakening in the first ten minutes of the contest.
“From the team that played in the first half I thought we got really challenged defensively. I thought after a bit of a wake-up call I thought we defended our line pretty well.
“We had quite a bit of possession against us so from that element I thought we got tested out by a very strong, fully committed and very enthusiastic Batley team.
“It’s fair to say that for a few of the guys we were just looking for some limited game time and it was just a hit-out to tick them over before next week. We took off most of the guys who are going to be in contention fairly early.
“I think another good thing we can get out of it is that it really lets some of our younger boys know where they are.
“Because they’re full-time professionals certainly doesn’t mean they’re fully rounded rugby league players and what it does highlight is that in this Championship there are some very capable men who know how to play the game.
“I think that was a great lesson for our guys for that last thirty minutes. We had a bit of leeway on the scoreboard and we had a fairly young side out there for the last half hour and it lets them know that there’s plenty to work on.
“We’ve had four or five part-time guys with us today that haven’t done an awful lot with us in terms of structured training with the first team so we expected it to be a little disjointed for that last twenty minutes and we wanted to stand-up defensively.
“We made too many errors and our execution wasn’t great down the bottom end and we made too many mistakes. Some of it’s inexcusable and some of it’s understandable.”
With extra game time in the bag for Agar’s pack options, plus a valuable experience for the younger members of the squad, it was a largely positive exercise for the Wildcats, but Agar did admit the visitors did not emerge unscathed.
Matty Wildie took a blow to the head setting up Lucas Walshaw’s try and was forced to sit out the rest of the game but has no long-term concerns.
“Probably our biggest concern is Kyle Trout,” admitted Agar.
“He’s landed a little bit awkwardly on his shoulder so we’re going to get that checked out.
“It’s a shame for him because he’s done really well and he’s a guy who would certainly be in the frame to play next week.”
Tickets for the game against Widnes Vikings in the Stobart Super League XVII opener are on sale now from the Wildcats with the new era set to start with a big away following as five Away Travel Club coaches are already fully booked.
Travel is priced at £7 for members and £8 non-members and can be booked in the Ridings Centre Store, on Doncaster Road or by calling 01924 211611/201548.
Adult match tickets are priced at £20, concession tickets are £13 and junior tickets are just £11. Junior Gold Members are not required to swap their tickets prior to the game and can simply present their booklet at the gate at Widnes.
Turnstile prices on the day will increase by £2, so the Wildcats are urging all fans to call in to either of the retail outlets on Doncaster Road or in the Ridings Shopping Centre to purchase their tickets in advance.
Please note that 8 wheelchair spaces are available and all carers can gain free entry into the game. For more information on disabled tickets please contact the Ridings store on 01924 201548.
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