Richard Agar pulled no punches after watching his side come off second best in every department in the opening round defeat to Bradford Bulls.
The Wildcats found themselves under the cosh from the very early stages of the game, with Bradford’s energy not allowing Agar’s men off the hook as the impressive hosts went in 22-0 to the good at the break.
Dean Collis claimed a 75 metre intercept as scant consolation in the second half as the Bulls racked up 40 points, and Agar laid the bulk of the blame for the heavy defeat with his pack.
“If you’re not in the physical contest then things can get a bit messy for you,” assessed Agar in the post-match press conference.
“Plain and simple, our contact in the middle of the field was nowhere near up to scratch, in fact, it was disgraceful. I’ve told them in there, I’m going to lay it firmly at the door of our forwards.
“We weren’t tackling with our shoulders; too many arms; not getting tight enough and not working hard enough in the ruck area. They just marched us downfield and I don’t think they strung too many passes together themselves offensively because they didn’t need to.
“Until you get a grip of that area, I don’t think you’ve got much chance.”
The week’s build up centred around the fitness of playmaker Tim Smith, but Agar conceded that even the influential Australian could have done little to change the flow of the game given the Bulls having twice the number of sets as Wakefield over the eighty minutes.
Agar is confident in his teams ability to score points, but insists they must provide themselves with the platform in which to do so.
“I’m not massively worried about our attack. I know we didn’t create a lot and we scored off an intercept, but our attack will come. You’ve got to earn the right to attack and the way we defended in the middle of the field, we didn’t earn that right.
“It gets compounded when you’re on the back foot and you’ve got back-to-back sets. Your energy saps away and you start to make mistakes, and we made more mistakes in the second half. I thought we got a slightly better control of the ruck but nowhere where it needed to be.
“I thought our outside backs but in particular our wingers and full-back tried their hardest to rally the team. I tossed up playing them in the middle of the field at one stage because they were having that much of a go. It might have been a good idea.
“If we toss that sort of defence up then we’ll get that every week. But I think we can fix it up pretty quickly.”
The Wildcats boss revealed that Reece Lyne suffered cramp and no serious injury late on when attempting to chase down Brett Kearney, with both Andy Raleigh and Tim Smith to come into contention for the visit of Hull KR.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.