Wildcats head coach Richard Agar knows tomorrows clash with Catalan is going to be one of the toughest of the season with the Perpignan-based outfit sitting in third position of Super League.
The team are today travelling to the South of France for the 4pm kick off on Saturday in what is expected to be scorching hot conditions. With Wakefield sitting in 11th place in the league ladder after two narrow defeats on the road, a third encounter away from the Rapid Solicitors Stadium awaits but Agar insists confidence is still high amongst his squad.
“Despite a couple of losses the spirit remains good within the camp and we can take plenty of positives out of the games that we have just played,” he said.
“Certainly from an attacking point of view I would say we have found our style that suits us and we are finding different options within that style as well. Our players are getting really comfortable with it but the problem for us is defensively we need to aim up a bit more.
“I think from the game at Bradford there were points in the game where we looked a little bit flat and tired. The six days was probably adequate to back-up post Leeds but I still felt emotionally the players weren’t where they needed to be after the huge effort they put in at Headingley.
“The players are well aware of the positives and we point them out to them on review. What is probably more important is the players know the areas we have to fix up and be a bit better in. It has been a fine line for us in both games actually and we started flat at the weekend before we clicked into gear and we were the dominant side for long periods of the game. I thought in the second half we didn’t kick the ball at all well.”
The Dragons have won 12 games in 2012 which is twice as many as the visitors to the Stade Gilbert Brutus and the Wildcats chief is well aware of the threats from the Frenchmen.
“It will be a ridiculously tough game on Saturday and I think the travel involved for us this week is not great. We are playing a team that is very, very powerful. We can take confidence from the fact we beat them when we played them at home and we executed a game plan spot on that day.
“We know the threats they possess and they play a little bit of a different style compared to everybody else but they have got some really powerful weapons. The two big front-rowers in Remi Casty and Lopini Paea carry the ball extremely well. (They have) very smart, classy half-backs and some real big strike on the fringes so I think they are an outstanding team. They are especially good on their home patch so we know we are going to have to perform well.
“Our preparation has not been the best because we have had our flights changed and we travel to Barcelona the day before so we have a sizeable travel before we arrive in Perpignan. We have slightly altered our preparation because we would normally train when we get out there but we are having our travel as our day off.
“We have done all of our preparation here this week so we will get plenty of rest time on Friday and before the 4 o’clock kick off on Saturday.”
Trinity have been forced to make three changes to the 19-man-squad after injuries to Dean Collis, Frankie Mariano and Steve Southern. With at least three changes to be made to the 17 it means doors will open for other squad members to stake a claim for their shirt.
“We have some changes this week due to knocks picked up against Bradford, Steve Southern came off with an ankle injury and he’ll be out 3-4 weeks. Unfortunately Dean Collis has a fracture in his collarbone and he’ll be out for around three weeks. That’s a big shame for Dean because the early indications were that he was going to be selected in the Exiles squad but he’ll have to miss out on that.
“Frankie Mariano has got an abductor strain as well so we have got some changes in there and one thing we do know is it is going to be very warm weather. The forecast has been suggesting the hot weather is going to continue into Saturday so we will have a look at their squad when it comes out before we decide to name our team.”
You can watch the full press conference on Wildcats TV HERE where Agar discusses the situation at Bradford Bulls and possible interest in ‘two or three’ of their players.
This is Wakefield. We Are Stronger.