Agar gearing up for huge game
18th August 2012
Wakefield Trinity Wilcasts’ impressive late-season charge has carried them to the brink of the play-offs and they can strike a further blow for qualification at Hull KR tomorrow.
Richard Agar’s side, who have settled into a fine rhythm after being hastily assembled over the winter, have won their last four games and head to Humberside just a point outside the top eight.
Rovers hold the last of the play-off spots and a win for the Wildcats would see them overhaul them and - provided Huddersfield Giants beat Bradford Bulls - take eighth place.
Regardless of what occurs in tomorrow’s other all-Yorkshire tie, a win for Wakefield would put them in a handy position with two games remaining.
“I think it’ll go a massive way towards deciding who makes the play-offs,” said Agar. “Whatever happens I’m pretty certain we’ve a chance of it going right down to the wire.
“We’re ready for it. There’s obviously a lot of excitement surrounding it but we know it’s going to be a tough trip for us.”
The form of the two sides could hardly be more different, with Wakefield’s winning run put up against Rovers’ one success in seven.
However, despite that, Agar is refusing to concede that his men are favourites.
He is all too aware of the hostile atmosphere that can be generated at Craven Park following his four-year spell in charge of Hull FC, and expects the same sort of environment tomorrow.
“It’s an important game and we know Hull KR is a difficult place to go,” he said. “They’ve got a terrific following and they make it a really uncomfortable place for opposing teams.
“They’re a bunch of fans who always very much get behind their own players and they’ll know the importance of this game as well.”
While making the play-offs would be a huge achievement for Wakefield, the same could be said of Bradford, who would already be planning for some extra fixtures were it not for their six-point deduction.
The Bulls’ financial problems have been one of the mainstays of the season and the fact that coach Mick Potter - still working without pay - can take his side to Huddersfield a point outside the eight deserves great credit.
Their win over Hull KR last weekend was a vital one but, with the situation as precarious as it is, every game needs to be treated with the utmost importance.
When asked if tomorrow’s clash was a must-win one, Potter said: “Yes I think it’s fair to say that. It’s a tough ask but it’s not impossible and quite within our abilities but we’ll start with the first hurdle and that’s Huddersfield this Sunday.
“We can’t focus on what other sides do and we just have to keep doing what we have been doing. The players are confident in their ability and that’s rightfully so because they are quite capable of winning three games. But we have to make sure we just focus on beating Huddersfield as they are a difficult side to beat.”
Potter will lock horns with a man who was a key member of the Bradford side that dominated the first half of the Super League era.
Paul Anderson was a member of the much-feared ‘awesome foursome’ forward pack who helped the Bulls win three Super League crowns, and is still well regarded at Odsal.
He is a Huddersfield man now, though, and knows he cannot allow sentiment to get in the way come 3pm tomorrow.
“Bradford are playing well and they are playing with a lot of emotion and aggression,” he said. “I have sympathy for the Bulls and it isn’t a situation I would like to be in.
“However, come this Sunday we need to be professional and it’s another game that we want to win. We have won two games on the bounce and this weekend I want to make it three.”