WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats head coach Richard Agar said it was tough to see his side score 40 points at Headingley Carnegie and still come away on the losing side against Leeds Rhinos.
Agar’s men scored seven tries at the home of the Super League champions but “uncharacteristic errors” in Wakefield’s defence allowed Brian McDermott’s men to bag the two points in an entertaining game which finished 44-40 to Leeds.
The Wakefield head coach could take plenty of positives from his side’s attacking play but couldn’t hide his frustration at their failure to make it four wins on the spin.
“We’ll certainly look to the first half and the runaway tries that gave them momentum,” he said.
“[Also] The opportunity where we had the chance for Richie to mop the ball up - we had some uncharacteristic errors in there and we let a soft try in at the end to put us behind.
“But I thought offensively we were outstanding. We put a game plan into place that we executed really well, scored some fantastic tries and played in the right spirit and played some good rugby. [We scored] 40 points at Headingley and not got the win. It’s quite a tough one to take for us.”
It was always going to be a tough test for Wakefield despite the fact the Rhinos had ten of Monday night’s squad involved in international action 48 hours earlier.
Leeds had recent history on their side - they’d lost just once in their previous 12 games against Wakefield going into the contest.
So it disappointed Agar that Wakefield ‘gifted’ their hosts points in the first half.
When asked if it was two points that got away for Wildcats, Agar responded: “I think overall when we look at 80 minutes yeah, we’ve got to look at it that way.
“We played some very, very positive stuff with the ball and when we look how we conceded our tries, certainly first half, I think we were very much the bearer of gifts and those gifts were converted into 18 points. I don’t think they had to massively work for those 18 points.”
But the Wakefield boss also bemoaned a crucial penalty decision in the second half which allowed Kevin Sinfield to kick the hosts eight points ahead and give them some breathing space.
“I’m going to point to a decision,” he commented.
“The penalty he gave them over that far side was just a dead set joke. How Kyle Wood has been deemed by that touch judge to play at that ball when he’s a metre from him on a sideline on the last play - he was going to tackle him.
“He’s given them head and feed from the scrum and ultimately a penalty which they’ve gone and kicked goal from. I’m sure there were many incidents in that game but I just thought it was a terrible, terrible decision from the touch judge.”
Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott said it was always going to be tough for his side on the back of the weekend international matches.
But he was full of praise for a “very good” Wildcats team that pushed his men all the way.
He said: “Tonight doesn’t fix anything up, [but] there’s enough to go on.
“It was always going to be a tough old game tonight with ten blokes out.
“Don’t underestimate Wakefield, I thought they played well. You can look at this two ways, you can look at it and say that we conceded a lot of points off Wakefield, but I tend to think we conceded a lot of points off a team that’s been playing really well. They had a great win last week against Hull and come back from the death and played some decent stuff.”
“I’m not playing down the situation we’re in but I know we’ve played and beat a very good team there tonight. What we’ve got to do now is continue to build from here.”
See Friday’s Wakefield Express for match report and reaction to Wakefield’s defeat at Leeds.