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Fitness pleases Agar
Wakefield coach impressed with side's staying power
Richard Agar has hailed his Wakefield side, after they battled to victory in energy-sapping conditions at the Etihad stadium.
The Wildcats managed to hold off a Castleford fightback in the second half to claim a 32-26 victory in the opening game of Stobart Super League's Magic Weekend.
It was a polar opposite performance to the one which angered the coach last week, when the Wildcats conceded 30 unanswered second-half points to lose 42-12 at home to Warrington.
And Agar was delighted with the resolute display.
He said: "I think in conditions like this, a little bit of football goes out of the window and it becomes very attritional. The pleasing thing for me is that we've been under the cosh but we've managed to defend our line when it matters most.
"It's a great way to start the weekend's festivities. There was only a score in it and there was some high drama at the end so hopefully we've warmed everybody up.
"It wouldn't surprise me if there were a lot of high-scoring games this weekend if the weather stays like this."
Castleford thought they had snatched the points in a dramatic finish when substitute forward Nathan Massey went over three minutes from the end but the try was disallowed by video referee James Child for offside and Wakefield scrum-half Tim Smith then clinched the points for his side.
Agar added: "We were a bit worried if that try had been allowed how we might have come back from it but it was rightly ruled out."
The coach reserved special praise for hooker Paul Aiton, who played the entire 80 minutes in the searing heat.
He said: "We were genuinely concerned that we might run out of interchanges. Some of our middle guys were really struggling but Paul Aiton has played 80 minutes and I thought, given the conditions, his size and what came his way today, it was one of toughest displays I've ever seen."
And of match-winner Smith he added: "Smithy's a smart player. Sometimes it's hard as a half-back when
your team is lacking a bit of go-forward and momentum. But he came up with the big play for us when it really mattered."
Meanwhile, Castleford coach Ian Millward was generally pleased with his team's improvement, after they had to issue a public apology in the wake of last weekend's 70-12 defeat at Hull KR.
He said: "I thought our pack of forwards was outstanding. Unfortunately
our outside backs couldn't compliment them.
"I really feel for our forwards today, they put in a really good shift. Everyone wants to play with a pack that are tough and uncompromising and get you forward and we had that today.
"There were too many one-on-one tries. Sometimes you'd like to call time out and put them all in the forwards and let them see what it's like to play there.
"I'm glad we got back on the horse today but that improvement should have been enough to win a game. I'd rather be winning than talking about our improvement."
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
|First Utility Super League|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalans Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalans Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalans Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
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