Richard Agar is expecting a derby day response from his side after last weekend’s drubbing at the hands of London Broncos.
For the first time this season the Wildcats were comfortably beaten and second best to the opposition in a number of facets of the game having competed with every other team they have faced so far.
It was uncharacteristic for the new-look squad to deliver such a flat performance after a string of enthusiastic and committed displays in previous weeks and Agar is expecting a response from his players in the biggest home game of each and every season.
“It’s on top of most people’s agenda for both clubs. It’s my first experience of a competitive derby between Wakefield and Castleford, and for quite a few of our boys and their coach as well it’s a first,” said Agar.
“I’m sure the fans are looking forward to it just as much as we are.
“We need to show a pretty good response from our performance last week. We feel that performance wise we’ve been really aiming up in games for long periods and it was a major disappointment that we didn’t at London last week.
“We need to put that behind us and there’s no better game to do it to against Castleford in a local derby in what I’m sure will attract a really good crowd.
“We had a fairly tough review which is probably the first we’ve had this season. Most of our reviews have been very positive but this week we had to point some fingers and highlight that this is just not good enough from us and hopefully we’ll see the right response.
“It’s a derby and we’re both sat on the same points so it’s safe to say both teams will be hungry to get the two points this weekend.”
As was the case in 2011, the Tigers star man is England international Rangi Chase and Agar says the Wildcats will need to keep a special eye on the mercurial half-back given his recent form.
But the Wildcats supremo was keen to stress that there is much more to the Tigers than their influential stand-off and is expecting threats from lots of different areas.
“Having watched them, they’ve had a difficult period to contend with. They’ve had some tough fixtures but I’ve seen that they’ve gradually got better,” Agar observed.
“It coincides with Ian coming back into the frame and the form of their stand-off. Watching him this week we were clipping some highlights of Castleford and some of the stuff that Rangi Chase is doing and if you’re an opposition coach, it’s not funny.
“But from a rugby league perspective it’s absolutely fantastic to watch. His highlights tape over the last three or four games have got some jaw dropping stuff in there.
“We need to know we’ve got to be on our guard for a really special player but they’re not a one-man team by any stretch of the imagination. Richie Owen and Nick Youngquest are doing a great job for them coming out of backfield and they’ve got some threat and potency out of dummy half with their hookers, and some strike on the edge with Brett Ferres.
“They’ve too much quality in there for us to totally to focus on one man. It’s very hard for us to practise against it. When you play against certain teams you can replicate certain things they do, but on a guy with individual brilliance like he has, we can watch and prepare but it’s very difficult to replicate on the training field.”
As always, Agar’s primary focus is on the delivery of a performance from his own side and he knows that the players need to be on their game each and every week to get results, as highlighted last weekend against the Broncos.
“Our week has just taken on a different theme. We feel we’ve created some good standards for ourselves on the training park and on game day as well. When we look back at last week we had a good week’s preparation leading into it.
“Whether the travel and the down time we had to negotiate had a part to play, we’re not sure.
“Having watched the game again, whilst our performance wasn’t where it needed to be, I thought there were some really crucial moments in the first half that went against us.
“I’m not sure 24-0 was a fair score at half-time. We were put under some enormous pressure by some crazy refereeing calls.
“Nonetheless, we didn’t handle it well enough. The biggest disappointment for me, apart from conceding the points we did, was not coming up with any points as I feel we’re a team that has caused most sides problems when we’ve attacked this year.
“I thought we were off the pace.
“We simply cannot afford too many individuals to be away from where they need to be with their all-round performance because of the nature of our squad.
“We know that if we have 17 blokes getting to a good level well compete with anyone.”
Tickets for Good Friday have been snapped up all week and will still be available on the turnstiles on Friday night although supporters are advised to arrive early to avoid disappointment with turnstiles opening at 5.30pm.
Buy your tickets in advance from the Ridings Shopping Centre or the Rapid Solicitors Stadium Box office which is open from 10.30am on Friday morning.
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