Richard Agar says he is excited for what 2013 holds after a hugely encouraging first season at the helm of the Wildcats.
Wakefield defied the odds by reaching the play-offs with a fantastic second half of the season which culminated in a club record winning streak in Super League of seven successive victories, playing a brand of rugby that had the whole competition talking and clubs fearing Agar’s side going into the play-offs.
A visit to reigning Champions Leeds Rhinos on Saturday night was ultimately a step too far but some heroic defence and flashes of attacking brilliance meant that players and fans alike left Headingley Carnegie with their heads held high and able to reflect on a season of massive progress.
No sooner does one season end then attention almost immediately turns to the next and after the huge changes at the club between the end of the 2011 campaign and the start of 2012, a more settled off season points towards another progressive year in Super League XVIII.
Agar, a contender for Coach of the Year, is already relishing the challenge of helping the Wildcats kick-on in 2013.
“We knew it was going to be a huge rebuilding job,” said Agar after the curtain came down on 2012.
“But we’ve rebuilt it well and we really try our best to play good rugby. I think we’ve come an awful long way and at this point it’s exciting to try and get the right players in to help our deficiencies and take the team forward next year.
“There’s no doubt that we’ll be starting at a far greater starting point then we did this year. If we can keep that same professionalism, spirit, attitude and the abilities to work for each other then hopefully we can improve the quality of the squad and be a good team next year.
“The challenge for us and me in particular is to try and make sure we can move forward next year, and I’m looking forward to that one. We’ve defied a lot of people this year and you know that a couple of losses next year people will be telling us it was a flash in the pan, but we’re determined to keep moving forward.
“For us we can look at the big picture. I’m disappointed with the game, but the best team won on the night. I’m looking forward to having a break, getting refreshed and getting ready for next year because I think we can all be excited about it.”
In all, twenty new players were brought to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium in 2012, including loanees Richard Mathers and Paul Sykes, with the Wildcats keen to wrap up permanent deals for the duo who have impressed in their time in the red, white and blue.
Lee Smith has already made his initial loan spell permanent, whilst Tim Smith, Ali Lauitiiti and Paul Aiton have all committed to the Wildcats for next season.
Agar says it will be a case of tweaking his squad as opposed to any radical overhaul but has identified the areas where he wants to improve.
“I certainly think we need a bit more firepower up front and the ability to hold up the middle of the field defensively better then what we can. We’ve got a lot already in place and established, and a style of play that suits us so it would be wrong of me to try and change that too much. I think we’ve got to build on it.
“If we can add a bit more strike in areas but certainly a bit more punch in the middle to hold our own against other packs on a more consistent basis. I’m certainly not knocking the guys because I think Kyle Amor is a terrific example of a player who has progressed so much in the course of this year.
“Kyle had a quiet off season because he was with Ireland and Cumbria, then he broke his hand in round one and had a baby. But the second half of the year he has turned into a really effective player for us.”
Agar’s men were backed by yet another outstanding away support at Headingley Carnegie, with the atmosphere created by the Trinity faithful both home and away a notable highlight of the year, with the Wildcats head coach paying tribute to the fans for helping change the perception of the club within the sport.
“They were tremendous and they’ve been great all year for us. One of the things we wanted to do at the start of the year was change the perception of the club.
I think we’ve breathed an enormous amount of passion, an enormous amount of pride back into the badge and I’m not just talking about the playing squad. I’m talking about the supporters and the management of the club.
“It’s up to us to try and seize that and there’s a lot of things talked about in Super League in terms of how many teams are in there and the quality of the bottom half. We want to try and establish ourselves not to be talked about in those realms. I think we’ve come a long way to that this year.”
2013 promises to be another thrilling year and you can ensure you’re there for all thirteen home games by getting your Gold Membership now.
Buy before the end of October and prices start from just £125 adults, £25 juniors, £50 for anyone aged 16-21 and £85 concessions, with the option still available to pay for yours in two monthly instalments.
Your membership is more than just a season ticket though with discount at Frankie & Benny’s, Nando’s, Kashmiri Aroma, free entry to all Academy games and much, much more.
Buy yours now by visiting either our Ridings Centre Store, the Rapid Solicitors Stadium Box Office, call 01924 201548/211611 or click HERE to buy online.
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