Super League: James Webster credits players for Wakefield Wildcats' late resurgence
Last Updated: 31/07/14 2:33pm
Wakefield Wildcats coach James Webster believes they need to win four of their remaining five Super League fixtures if they are to realise their playoff ambitions.
Webster’s appointment as head coach - succeeded Richard Agar in June - sparked a resurgence at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium with the Wildcats now riding the crest of a wave.
Barring a 40-6 reverse against the Catalan Dragons in Perpignan two weeks ago, Wakefield are unbeaten under the tutelage of Webster, who has chalked up five wins and a draw.
It a remarkable run which has seen them defy reigning champions Wigan Warriors, 2013 Grand Finalists Warrington Wolves as well as rivals Leeds Rhinos and now just two points separate the Wildcats from Widnes in the all-important eighth place with five rounds of action remaining.
“It’s going to be tough,” Webster admitted when discussing Wakefield’s playoff hopes with Sky Sports.
I think all credit really needs to go to our players. We sat down a few weeks ago and spoke about some areas we needed to improve on to be competitive and full credit to them they’ve gone out and put their best foot forward.
“We probably need to win four of our five remaining games to get into the playoffs; traditionally it has been 26 or 27 points that has got you close to making eighth spot.
“We’re on 19 at the minute so we need to pick up probably another four wins, eight points, to get into that.
“We’ve got Huddersfield this week and we travel away to St Helens yet so we have a couple of tough games but if we keep up the form we’ve shown over the last couple of weeks we definitely have a chance.”
While the Wildcats’ upturn has coincided with Webster’s coming to the fore, the Australian-born coach was quick to deflect plaudits to his squad.
“I think all credit really needs to go to our players,” he added. “We sat down a few weeks ago and spoke about some areas we needed to improve on to be competitive and full credit to them they’ve gone out and put their best foot forward.
“We’ve had three really big wins over Leeds, Wigan and Warrington. Probably our best win was Warrington on the weekend, for us to score 40 points against a class side as Warrington was fantastic but we have a tough test this weekend against Huddersfield.”
Webster was also quick to lavish praise on half-back Tim Smith, who arrived back at the club on loan from Salford in June.
“We’ve generally gone with the same type of tactics throughout the games, we’ve been lucky with the addition of Tim Smith at the same time as I took over as coach. Tim has been instrumental in what we’ve done.
“It’s a lot to do with commitment and turning up for each other. We’ve been able to limit the amount of tackles we’ve missed other that period of time, a lot of it goes down to Tim and the group of players.”
Wakefield being in contention for a playoff berth is made all the more notable given the fact they had to cancel their pre-season tour due to a lack of players before losing nine of their first 11 Super League matches.
“We were always going to have a slow start to the season, obviously with players getting to the country and then getting used to each other a little bit more,” Webster claimed.
“We’ve had some players coming into the squad which has helped us and they’re more familiar with each other now so it’s come together well for us.”