Super League: Wakefield coach Richard Agar has play-offs in his sights
Last Updated: 09/07/13 8:23am
Wakefield have the Super League play-offs in their sights once more after brushing aside Widnes 24-14 at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
The Wildcats, who produced a club Super League record seven-match winning run to reach the top eight last season, overcame the loss of Paul Sykes and Dean Collis before half-time to register a fourth successive win.
The Wildcats are now just one point behind eighth-placed Hull with a game in hand and coach Richard Agar said: "We can get excited about it now.
"We weren't fluent tonight but we're in the mix and we can put pressure on the teams above us.
"We know in the last seven rounds that we've an awful lot to play for. We were fed up of people talking about last year but I think we can draw on those experiences.
"Chalking off our home wins will be important for us. We showed little glimpses of what we can do but the boys know it's not been a great performance."
Agar was forced to shuffle his side after losing centre Collis, shortly after he opened the scoring with his 12th try of the season, with a recurrence of a hamstring injury and stand-off Sykes with what could be a serious leg injury.
"We don't want to scaremonger but he's going for x-rays and there's a chance there might be a crack in his lower leg," Agar said.
Yet Wakefield turned adversity to their advantage as the early introduction of Ali Lauitiiti from the bench, allied to the switch of Frankie Mariano from the pack, added a cutting edge to their left-sided attack where they teamed up with winger Ben Cockayne to devastating effect.
"I thought Ali was brilliant," Agar added. "He was the one who put the punch back in our game.
"He was probably blunted by the amount of game time he had to do but he showed his quality. He is such a handful and took on some great responsibility.
"I thought Frankie Mariano was the brightest spot for us. He adapted really well. He did a good job defensively and carried the ball well."
Widnes were effectively down and out after trailing 24-4 before scoring late consolation tries through Gareth Hock and Rhys Hanbury.
"We're frustrated and that translates into way we are playing," said Vikings coach Denis Betts. "It was a scrappy game. On a beautiful night, you wouldn't expect that much dropped ball.
"It's hard because we're not learning how to win at the moment. We did some good stuff but from a couple of line breaks we put the ball down and it changed the game.
"We are a better side than we showed at times tonight but you've got to give credit to Wakefield after losing two players from their starting team. They are working hard for each other, they are a tough side to beat."
The game was marred by ugly crowd scenes, with stewards forced to separate fighting sets of fans.
"It's not often you see it," said Agar. "I can't comment on the incident because I was watching the game. But I hope the perpetrators are held up there and some action is taken against them.
"It's ugly and it's not something any genuine rugby league person wants to see."