Wildcats skipper Danny Kirmond says the club can be proud of what has been achieved on and off the field as the curtain comes down on the 2012 campaign.
Kirmond led the side to a Super League club record seven straight wins that sent Wakefield into the play-offs as the form team in the competition and gave the supporters a thrilling second half of the year.
That record run coupled with an increase on home attendances of 25% has helped put the Wildcats back in the rugby league spotlight for the right reasons after years of getting the wrong sort of media attention.
Speaking after bowing out to reigning Champions Leeds Rhinos, Kirmond spoke of a successful year.
“Our boys had a real dig, have had a real dig all year and it has been an amazing season to play with all the players that are here.
“I think as a club we can be very proud of what we have achieved on and off the field. The crowd numbers are massively up and the atmosphere that they are creating is certainly a lot better than anything I’ve ever played in front of.
“It’s definitely a club that’s going in the right direction and we’ve shown that with how we’ve gone on the field and with the gates we’re getting as well.”
On the night Leeds had just too much big game experience and quality for the Wildcats to handle, but they put in a valiant display with no shortage of quality of their own and backed by almost 3,000 travelling fans it was a hard fought play-off encounter.
Kirmond conceded that the Rhinos were deserving winners but praised the team for their efforts.
“They were really good tonight. I thought we had a really good dig and everyone put their bodies on the line and had a really good effort.
“Off the back of what we’ve done and the really good run then perhaps that took a little bit out of us but we gave our all tonight and on the night they were just better than us on the night. Their world class players showed just why they’ve got those reputations and were really clinical.
“We were in the game and came out after half-time and reacted positively to what happened to put ourselves back on the front foot. It slipped away and then slipped away a little at the end and perhaps the score didn’t reflect how much effort we put in.
“They were really clinical and that took a lot of energy out of us. They got some repeat sets which does take a lot of juice out of you and in big games like this that’s the sort of rugby you have to play. It’s a good learning curve for us as a team to play in the play-offs and come up against teams like Leeds who do up their game towards the business end of the season.
“We maybe weren’t as clinical as they were at times. We created a lot of chances to give ourselves a chance but it just wasn’t meant to be. Credit to Leeds, they made us pay for the mistakes we made.”