Richard Agar was pleased with how his side held on for a memorable derby day victory over Castleford Tigers at Magic Weekend.
Played out in sweltering conditions at the Etihad Stadium, the fans of both teams were treated to an entertaining game with drama right up until the final hooter, with Tim Smith’s moment of individual brilliance ultimately proving the decisive play.
Given the conditions, Agar was pleased with his side’s ability to keep hold of the win under late pressure from the Tigers.
“We kept it interesting, even until the death,” said Agar after the match.
“If Benny Cockayne kicks the ball over the touchline instead of trying to keep the fans entertained then I think that’s it.
“They’ve somehow managed to find a way to make us defend our own line again. I don’t think we had too much luck on video referee calls today.
“The score blew out early doors and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few high scoring games this weekend looking at the track and if the weather stays like this.
“It noticeably slowed up and the conditions played their part in that. The closeness of the game played a part in what both teams were doing with the ball until the final ten minutes.
“I think in conditions like this a little bit of football goes out the window and it becomes a bit attritional and that’s the pleasing thing for me with the players today.
“We have been under the cosh and they have got a bag of tricks in their team that can produce things. But we’ve managed to defend our line when it matters most and cover up one or two little things.
“The try that they had ruled out, we were a little bit worried at that point that if that had been allowed then how we would have come back from that.”
Smith proved the match winner, taking advantage of tiring players to arc his way to the tryline and send the travelling Wakefield fans delirious as they regained bragging rights following the Good Friday defeat.
Agar paid tribute to his scrum-half for his contribution and that of his hooker Paul Aiton, who played the full 80 minutes in the pack.
“It was a big play,” said Agar of Smith’s try.
“He came up with a couple of big plays, not all of them good ones. The short kick on the forty I was particularly disturbed by.
“But he made up for it when it mattered most. He’s a smart player and sometimes it’s hard as a half-back when your team is lacking a bit of go forward and momentum.
“It was difficult for him to try and create at times today but he came up with a big play when it mattered for us.”
“At times we were genuinely concerned that we might run out of interchanges. Some of our middle guys were really struggling and that highlights one or two players like Paul Aiton.
“He’s played 80 minutes at hooker and loose-forward, done plenty of carries in that and considering the conditions, the size of him and the stuff that was coming his way, I think that was one of the toughest displays I’ve ever seen.”
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