RICHARD Agar admitted his Wakefield Wildcats side simply ran out of energy in their Super League elimination play-off defeat at Leeds Rhinos on Saturday night.
Wildcats led 16-12 early in the second half but Brian McDermott’s men ran in five tries to secure a 42-20 win and book a date in France against Catalans Dragons in the next round.
Agar couldn’t fault his side’s battling efforts against the champions but said his men simply ran out of gas at the end of a tough season.
“Energy got us,” said the Wildcats head coach.
“Effort was not in question, energy got us and there were some reasons that energy got us. We knew we needed to be really good and we just didn’t quite execute to the level that we needed to and that we have at times this year.
“We created some opportunities where we put the ball down and I thought there were a number of times where they really hurt us on kicks and kick returns where perhaps we didn’t kick the ball well enough. The exceptional players in their team, Jones-Bishop, Hall, Hardaker, Watkins, caused us some real damage.
“I thought the game was really summed up in the chance we had through Danny Washbrook with nine minutes to go to make it a four-point ball game. I don’t think anybody would have backed against us at that point having another crack at their line but we didn’t execute and take the try. They run the length of the field and that was something that happened on a couple of occasions and ultimately I felt that was the difference.
“We hung in there and we hung in there when perhaps we’d no right to at times because the energy, the way the game had swung, was very much on their side.
Wakefield can still take plenty of positives from a season in which they enjoyed a club record seven-game winning Super League run to fire them into a play-off place few expected at the start of the campaign.
Agar says he’s pleased with the progress his troops have made in his first year in charge and hopes his men will be better players thanks to their play-off experience.
“I think the players that haven’t been here [the play-offs] before will certainly benefit tonight,” he said.
“Out of tonight our experienced players knew what it was all about and perhaps we got caught short a little bit on experience at times.
“I’ve got some troops in [the dressing room] that have come to Headingley against the champions in a play-off game and are genuinely disappointed that they’ve not won and know exactly the reasons why they haven’t won, and that to me is progress.
“We’re hugely disappointed because we have seen things that we could have done a little bit better and it might have been a different outcome, Ultimately I felt we hung in for long periods and I felt the class between the teams, and the ability to get length-of-field tries, really was a big difference between the sides.
“Having said all that, the disappointment in what I’ve just talked about is an indication of how far we’ve come and what the players and the club have built up over the course of the last 12 months.”
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