RICHARD Agar says the pressure is off his Wakefield Wildcats players going into Saturday’s Super League elimination play-off at Leeds Rhinos (kick-off 8pm).
Few expected Wildcats to make the top-eight at the start of the season and the odds will be against them again when they face last season’s Grand Final winners at Headingley Carnegie.
Agar says the Rhinos are the play-off “masters” but will take his men to Leeds buoyed by a club record seven-game winning run in Super League and some encouraging performances, and results, against Brian McDermott’s side in 2012.
“There’s no better side for getting to Grand Finals is there?,” he said.
“They’re the masters of it and they know how to get the job done, so to go to their place will be a huge challenge for us - but there’s no pressure on us.
“We can go there and perform our very best football and go with some confidence too, seven wins undoubtedly gives you some confidence.
“We can go there knowing that we’ve had a couple of really good games with them already.
“We scored 40 points at Headingley once this year, albeit we didn’t win, but we’ve proved that we can give them a game when we’re on our day.”
As well as pushing the Rhinos all the way once already in their own back yard, Wakefield enjoyed a 38-18 league victory over their old foes at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium in July.
A 38-18 defeat in the Carnegie Challenge Cup at Headingley, where Wildcats had led 12-6 at half-time, completes the triple-header between the teams this season.
Agar believes at the very least his side will give Leeds another tough and competitive game on Saturday.
He marks the turning point of Wakefield’s season as the Magic Weekend, which saw Wakefield beat Castleford Tigers 32-26.
The current seven-game winning run catapulted Wildcats into the post-season competition and Agar believes the variety in those highlights the competitive nature of his troops.
“We’ve had some close games,” he said.
“We’ve had some close wins and some close losses but I think that’s just an indication that we’re a really competitive team.
“The [seven-game] run has helped cap a good season for us and hopefully there’s a little bit more in it.
“We’re in the play-offs and that in itself will take on its own journey.”
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest Wakefield Wildcats news.