Richard Agar believes his side have given themselves a good platform to build on following last weekend’s win over Widnes Vikings as they prepare to welcome Hull KR.
The Wildcats spoiled the party for the Vikings with an assured second half display but come up against a strong Robins squad packed full of Super League and NRL experience who are sure to provide a much sterner test to the new-look Trinity side.
Agar was far from getting carried away with an opening round win but is happy that he and his squad has provided a good starting point for the remainder of 2012.
“We know we’re still new as a team and even last week we were really happy to get the win and with certain aspects of our game,” Agar said at the weekly pre-match press conference.
“I thought in the second half in good ball we put on some nice plays and scored some good tries, but we still think there are plenty of improvements in our game.
“We defended our line manfully in the first half but we still felt we could have got our systems a little bit better. For grit, determination, enthusiasm and toughness – some of the ‘uncoachables’ – we got them in bucket loads, which for us is fantastic.
“We still think there’s things team wise we can improve. When teams start to find their attacking straps a little bit more we could find ourselves vulnerable in certain positions.
“I think we’ve given ourselves a lot to build on. I think over the last two outings against Castleford and then Widnes we’ve given ourselves a good base and a good platform to take ourselves forward.”
After years spent just a few miles down the road from Sunday’s visitors, Agar knows plenty about the red and whites and the danger they present.
Under a new Head Coach in Craig Sandercock and with some exciting talent added to the playing roster, Agar is expecting a tough examination in round two.
“They’re a little bit different from last year,” said Agar of the Robins.
“Obviously with Ben Galea and Blake Green out for them it has taken a little bit out of where their attack is channelled from.
“I’ve been really impressed with their middle. Their forwards have got a real hunger about them, they’ve got some power and they’re getting off the line really quickly and trying to whack people.
“I’ve seen them offload the ball probably more than I did last season and that’s been a feature of their play and structurally they’re slightly different.
“But their good players are still their good players and possess a great threat. Michael Dobson is very much a focal point for them and kicks the ball very well. I think the new additions have been very good for them.
“They’re a dangerous side and I know they got beat at Leeds last weekend but it was a super contest for a long time and I thought they were very impressive in their trial victory over Hull FC.
“They’ll see this as a great chance to come and get off the mark this season and we’re off the back of a decent trial performance and our first two points last week.”
With Super League action returning to the city for the first time in five months and on the back of excellent Gold Membership sales, Sunday will provide a first opportunity to see the new-look squad in competitive action on home turf.
On the back of a solid opening win and significant backing from the fans, Agar is keen to continue the momentum that surrounds the club in 2012.
He also revealed that a successful operation to Kyle Amor’s broken hand could see the prop return in less than the initial six week prognosis, whilst looking to add an extra pack option to his replacements bench on Sunday.
“The mood around the place has been terrific,” observed Agar.
“We took a fantastic and sizeable following to Widnes last week which is great and we can utilise that. The fans are really getting behind the boys and any player will tell you it gives you a terrific lift.
“We probably did suffer lack a little bit from a lack of a genuine edge forward on the bench (against Widnes).
“We put Washy out there for a good stint and Danny Kirmond played a fair bit of centre too so we had to push Ali out for 65 minutes.
“We’ll probably use Frankie Mariano or maybe Kyle Trout this weekend so it gives us a bit more of a genuine rotation which will help us out as well.”
You’ll be able to see Agar’s full pre-match press conference on Wildcats TV later on today.
19-man squad to face Hull KR: Mather, Fox, Collis, Mellars, Cockayne, John, Wood, Wilkes, Ellis, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Southern, Washbrook, Aiton, Johnson, Kirmond, Mariano, Smith, Trout.
Saturday’s scheduled under 20′s games between the two clubs due to be played on Saturday has been postponed to protect the pitch for Sunday’s match.
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