AGAR CALLS FOR WILDCATS TO MAINTAIN HIGH STANDARDS
Richard Agar says his side must maintain their performance levels to make it a hat-trick of West Yorkshire derby wins on Sunday.
The Wildcats travel to the PROBIZ Coliseum for the derby decider against Castleford Tigers with the sides both having one victory over each other so far in 2012.
Wakefield go into the game as the side in form having toppled first Huddersfield Giants and then Leeds Rhinos on Monday night with two of their best performances of the season.
Rather than warning his side against complacency as they prepare to face a Tigers side with injury worries, Agar has been keen to stress the importance of keeping up the levels that have served the Wildcats so well in the last two matches.
“I’d sooner go along the lines of reinforcing what we’re doing rather than firing warning shots across the players,” commented Agar.
“I think it’s a case of looking at what has worked for us on game day and what has worked for us in preparation, tinkering what we need to for this game and making sure we’re in the right frame of mind.
“If we keep telling them to guard against complacency and we’re all to happy with ourselves then eventually it turns out that way. That’s the key in doing what we do in this sport and striving to get consistency.
“We’ll be throwing the positive messages out but we have got the upmost respect for the opposition. We know that we’re not that time of team like Saints or Wigan who can turn up and be 10, 15 or 20% down on the game. If that happens to us then we’re a long way short. We’ve got to be right up on our game every week.”
Wakefield go into the game in buoyant mood but Agar knows that despite Castleford’s own recent run of results, there will be no danger of an easy ride on Sunday.
Agar says the Wildcats have to be prepared to withstand everything the Tigers have to throw at them and come back with more of their own.
“We’re going into the game on the back of some good form and having played in a couple of local derbies as well. It’s our third on the bounce and against our nearest and dearest rivals.
“We can go in in good spirits, good form and in good heart but we also know that that is probably not going to count for as much this week. I’m not reading too much into their results.
“They’ve had a lot of disruption, particularly around the half-back area, but I think this is a game where their backs are very much against the wall and they’re going to be in front of a very passionate and vociferous home crowd and think they’re going to bring a lot of emotion to the game.
“We’ve already played them twice. We got whacked at home and a game at Magic that wasn’t settled until a long time after the final hooter so we know it’s going to be a game.
“We’ve just been striving to get our performance levels up. What we have done over the last couple of weeks is defended more consistently over eighty minutes than we have done throughout the season. It has undoubtedly been our best two defensive efforts, certainly in terms of consistency and controlling tackles.
“At the weekend we played a very good team who only ran the ball over the line once from a pass which we gave them. Undoubtedly we could have defended the kicks a bit better and there were a couple of poor individual efforts in there and a good kick.
“But generally, structurally and from a toughness point of view I thought our defence held up really well.
“We’re mindful we’re on a short turnaround. We had a big game on Monday night and we’re on a five day turnaround so in managing our blokes this week we’re trying to make sure we get all our bases covered from a technical and tactical point of view.
“But at the same time making sure we get the right levels emotionally because we know that’s an area where we’re going to have to bring everything to the party because that’s certainly what Cas will bring.”
You can watch Agar’s pre-match press conference HERE.
Tickets for Sunday’s game (kick-off: 3.30pm) will go off sale from the Wildcats at 4pm today (Saturday) with fans advised to buy in advance to avoid disappointment with a bumper derby day crowd expected.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.