Wildcats head coach Richard Agar has responded to criticism of both himself and the club by outgoing Doncaster coach Tony Miller.
Miller chose to use the post-match press conference at the weekend to vent his frustrations after seeing his side lose their play-off clash with Dewsbury Rams.
Among Miller’s claims was that Agar ‘wanted to pick the team for me’, a suggestion which Agar strenuously denies.
“This is a ludicrous comment,” said Agar. “At the start of the year we were struggling to get any football for players such as Vince Mellars, Kyle Trout, Frankie Mariano, Matty Wildie and Liam Kay. Tony did not want to use these players as he didn’t want to upset his own guys.
“While I fully understood and empathised with his position, I felt it was our duty to press for some of our guys some game time. That is the idea of dual-registration. Tony only wanted to include players such as Danny Cowling who he knew he would have for extended periods. Again, I fully understood but I was having players not playing for 5-6 weeks which was leaving them totally under prepared. We cut a compromise and he began playing Kyle and eventually Liam.
“At no stage did I ever try and pick his team. Anyone in the game who knows me would tell you I would never attempt such an act. I am appalled Tony would make such a comment. I would find it hard to pick his team as I don’t know half of his squad.
“We have consistently offered our players this year. As well as the previously mentioned, we have offered Chris Annakin, Bobbie Goulding, Oliver Wilkes, Reece Lyne and Peter Fox to name others.”
Miller also said that players had not turned up for training as he’d expected, to which Agar said: “In regards to players showing up, two weeks ago Kyle Trout did not show. I was still unsure whether or not Kyle would play for the Wildcats that weekend. I did not communicate this to Kyle and Tony as I should and that is most definitely my mistake.
“Earlier on in the year, Tony wasn’t using Bobbie Goulding. However, Bob being the outstanding young professional he is, went to Doncaster to see their review and find out why he had been dropped for Tony to tell him he wasn’t required. I did not realise it was in my remit to drop and give reasons to Doncaster’s team selection.
“The underlying issue here is that they are sour because we pulled back Kyle Trout and Liam Kay to play for us on Sunday, in what they described as a meaningless game. They wanted them to play in their play-off game.
“Tell 6,500 Wakefield and Castleford fans and the 34 players on show it was meaningless. Tell Liam Kay and Kyle Trout it was meaningless, ironically one of the players we had to persuade them to play at the start of the year.
“Our players will always be our priority and our first grade side will always take precedence over dual registration.”
Miller says Agar promised him Lucas Walshaw for the season, but Walshaw later joined Dewsbury Rams on loan, for reasons the Wildcats boss explains and says Miller wouldn’t use players offered to him.
“Our club had a rental deal with Dewsbury in regards to Chris Annakin for the season. Chris made first grade and it was a club decision that we would still loan them a player to fulfil this obligation and pick up some income. Lucas was also having difficulty travelling to Doncaster from his Dewsbury home as he was caring for his sick and elderly grandmother and we felt this would make Lucas’ life easier during a difficult period.
“This was all done with the full knowledge of the administrators involved, namely James Elston and Carl Hall (Doncaster CEO).”
“We have always offered up every available player to Doncaster. Tony gets their phone numbers and organises who he wants. I have a season’s worth of text messages offering up players to Tony. The simple fact is he didn’t want them. He wanted the players he wanted but they are our players.
“Surely he is smart enough to work out that as a coach it is far better for me to have Vince Mellars, Jon Molloy, Lucas Walshaw and Bobbie Goulding all playing at Doncaster as the laws for pulling players back is far easier than loaning people out to other clubs.
“It would have been easy just to register our players for a situation like last weekend where both teams have injuries. That way he would have been able to call on a player like Annakin or Goulding. I think he is also forgetting a simple fact – they are our players and we pay them.
“We withdrew Bobbie Goulding three weeks ago and Lucas Walshaw this weekend from Dewsbury and I know Glenn Morrison was equally short for his team. But he understood the situation and the way it works as disappointed as he was.
Agar concluded: “I am really looking forward to reading the paper Tony is proposing to write on the subject. If his post-match comments are an indication of what’s to come then it will be worth the wait.
“I hope when he gets over losing the match he realises that we were probably not to blame and he has had a good pool of players at his disposal almost all season, he has simply chosen not to use them.
“I felt our relationship had always been very cordial and we had been as obliging as we possibly could in regards to the loaning of players. At no stage this season has Tony ever expressed any discontent with our arrangement. This is what makes it all the more surprising and disappointing he has chosen to take a cheap shot at our club and me personally at this stage in the year.”
The Wildcats have severed all ties with Doncaster as a partner club.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.