Richard Agar was satisfied with the workout his squad got in the final pre-season friendly against Hunslet Hawks on Sunday afternoon.
The Trinity head coach used 21 players during a 40-20 win over the Championship One side, limiting the game time of his senior first team players and providing the opportunity for the Wildcats to have nine players on the field at one stage who had come through the clubs youth programme.
Speaking after the game, Agar said: “We got a valuable hit-out after unfortunately being called off last week. We saw some improvements, we functioned okay in the first half and it was a valuable practise for us to get some proper game time under our belts.
“We made a lot of changes five minutes into the second half and the last thing you judge a trial game on is the scoreboard. The scoring slowed down but we took off most of the guys that are likely to feature (against Salford in round 1) so up until then I was really happy with what we were doing.
“We controlled it okay and Hunslet came out and had a good crack in the first 20 minutes and it was a good workout for us. We used it for what it is and some of the part-time guys with us got some good experience towards the end of the game.”
Agar was without a number of his first team squad but only expects to be without forward Chris Annakin for the campaigns opening game. He faces three months on the sidelines with a knee injury but Dean Collis, Lee Smith, Taulima Tautai and Paul McShane were all not included as a precaution, whilst the Wildcats continue to wait patiently for Pita Godinet, Scott Anderson and Matt Ryan to be given the green light to join up with the squad.
With the squad heading away on a three-day training camp in north Wales this week, Agar opted to finish the game with 12 men rather than risk any further injury and felt it a worthwhile exercise.
“We go away on a camp on Tuesday and the last thing I wanted to do was tip anybody over the edge or have anyone off the training park next week. We decided to put a cap on game time with certain players which is what we did.
“We thought it would be a bit of a different challenge for our guys to finish with 12 men at the end. We were already down to 12 men with Ali off so we played the bulk of the second half with 12 men. But that happens sometimes in games so it’s nice to be in a position where you can practise it and it doesn’t hurt you too much.
“There was a little bit of contingency in what we did today but we thought it was a useful workout for us. I’m not looking too deeply into it other than that. We saw some improvements, certainly in our attitude, as well as in our shape and control of what we were doing. Defensively, for the most part, we aimed up. I’m not too concerned about three late tries with 12 men and half an Academy team on the field. “
Wakefield’s youngsters emerged with plenty of credit, 16-year old first team squad players Max Jowitt and Jordan Crowther both belied their age to look at home in open age rugby, Jowitt completing 80 minutes and crossing for the first try.
“I thought it was a great experience for the guys and especially someone like Corbyn Kilday who lives and breathes the club to bag a try in a first team game.
“I thought the young lads did okay. Luke Briscoe showed some nice touches and Max Jowitt in his first start did well, and Jordan Crowther, for 16 years old, he looks fearless. We’ve got a real promising crop of youngsters who can push through into the first team early doors this year if they continue with the progress they’ve shown at the moment.”
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