Wildcats boss Richard Agar conceded the better team won through after seeing his side go down to Hull FC in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.
There was to be no fairytale return to Wembley fifty years on from Trinity’s last cup success as a five-minute blitz of three tries in the first half set the black and whites on their way to a quarter-final berth.
Wakefield never threw the towel in and whilst the visitors may have lacked their usual fluency in attack without regular key men Richard Mathers and Paul Sykes out injured as well as a solid Hull FC defensive effort, the Wildcats fans left the KC Stadium knowing their men had given their all.
Agar admitted after the game that it was one of those occasions where you have to concede defeat to the better side on the day.
“I thought they defended really well,” said Agar of his former club.
“We are a team that has consistently broken oppositions down this year and at times we struggled to make inroads. It was one of those games where I felt we needed to take every opportunity that came our way and we didn’t do that.
“We had limited opportunities through the night and there were two or three half chances where we didn’t execute or make the most of. Whether Smithy got the ball down or not, who knows, but the clock was running away from us at that point.
“We did feel that we had a chance to come back into the game at half-time. I really applaud our effort in the second half. We upped the defensive effort because we nowhere near controlled enough rucks in the first half and for that six or seven set period in the first half where we couldn’t get our hands on the ball, they punished us.
“We came back in the second half and gave everything we had to break them down. We changed one or two things we did with the ball and tried to go through the middle a little bit more. I thought they defended well, made some pretty good reads and rounded us up pretty well.
“They’re big players really stood out for them tonight and sometimes you get beaten by a better team on the night and I thought that’s what happened to us tonight.”
Justin Poore and Richard Mathers (both ankle) were forced to miss out, with Mathers’ injury flaring up following Thursday’s final training session and the short turnaround from last Saturday’s win over Catalan meaning the game came a couple of days too soon for the Australian prop.
The Wildcats boss felt that loss of experience, combined with the absence of Sykes, was a combined big loss in a crunch game.
“Those three is a lot of experience to handle out of our team, particularly in those positions. We’ll be better for the experience, (especially) our younger players. Even though it’s a bad experience for them they will learn from some of the stuff that has gone on out there.”
You can listen to Agar’s full post-match press conference HERE.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.