Richard Agar praised his sides effort and commitment after they went down to table toppers Wigan Warriors.
Wakefield led their more illustrious opponents for the majority of the game but saw a famous win taken from their grasp in the final ten minutes as the Warriors punished some tired errors from the men in red, white and blue.
The Wildcats were missing a host of key men including Tim Smith, Paul Aiton and Ali Lauitiiti as well as experienced duo Paul Sykes and Andy Raleigh. But those coming into the side made light of those losses to put in a showing that restored pride after a couple of disappointing performances in recent weeks.
“Undoubtedly we’re disappointed that having led for so long we didn’t come away with the victory,” said Agar in the post-match press conference.
“I don’t think we could have asked for much more effort and commitment from the group of players that were out there. In the end, energy got us.
“I’ll use Matty Wildie as an example, I think he’s played four games this year and we haven’t been able to get him much football on dual registration or loan, and he’s had to play 80 minutes in the middle of the park. I think he did it wonderfully.
“We’ve probably three or four guys who are short of a lot of game time and this level who we had to rely on to play a lot longer than we would have expected before the match.
“They (Wigan) got some momentum but we felt we had chances to break that momentum. We came out with a forward pass late on and then kicked out on the full. I thought they were really big turning points, coupled with the 40/20 which I thought was a really big play for them.”
A 13-point defeat was harsh on the Wildcats efforts, who did well to nullify the Warriors power game that has blown so many teams away in 2013. As well as the injuries going into the game the Wildcats lost Lee Smith (back) and Danny Kirmond (ankle) in the second period, stretching the resources at Agar’s disposal even further.
The Wakefield boss felt that played a key role in the outcome of the game.
“We were pretty hopeful that once we got in front after Kirmo scored his second try that we were playing well enough to bring the game home, just disappointed really that we didn’t have that rotation at our disposal because I thought it would have helped us when we were tired in that last 10-15 minutes.
“But credit to the opposition as well. I’ve seen them do that on more than one occasion in turning the screw when they need to turn it most and that’s in the last 10-15 minutes.”
After the Magic Weekend defeat to Castleford Tigers, Agar said that there would need to be some soul searching done by the squad and the players came up with the response that showed the characteristics that have been pivotal in the first 18 months of a new-look outfit.
Agar was pleased with how his side reacted to a difficult week.
“Someone’s just asked me about losing four games on the trot and sometimes that’s going to happen. It’s about keeping your nerve in those situations and we’ve had experiences of being there before. But the manner of our last two defeats has been disappointing and left us head scratching a little bit.
“We needed to show a response. We had a tough week knowing we were going to lose a lot of players. We lost some to injury, some guys were unavailable and it threw our preparation into a little bit of disarray.
“We knew that with so many changes we wouldn’t be as fluent with the ball in hand. We wanted our guys to front up and rip in, and I thought they did that manfully, and energy just got the better of us in that last ten minutes.”
The Wildcats are expecting Tim Smith, Paul Aiton, Ali Lauitiiti, Paul Sykes, Lee Smith and Danny Kirmond all to be in contention for the trip to Salford City Reds a week on Monday.
Andy Raleigh, however, is not thought to be able to return, with no date as yet set for when the prop may make a comeback.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.