Connect to share and comment

RugbyL: Wakefield eye play-off berth after fourth straight win

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Wakefield Wildcats head coach Richard Agar admitted he had to curb Ali Lauitiiti's attacking instincts to ensure his side ground out a fourth straight victory to put themselves in the Super League play-off picture.

Tries from Dean Collis, Lauitiiti, Frankie Mariano and Matty Wildie handed the Wildcats a 24-14 win on Monday with Patrick Ah Van among the scorers in reply for Widnes Vikings.

But the victory, which takes the Wildcats to within a point of the play-offs, came at a cost with both Collis and Paul Sykes limping off in the first half.

Collis' departure brought 33-year-old Lauitiiti off the bench inside the first 10 minutes and Agar admitted the Kiwi's selfless response proved key.

"Ali Lauitiiti pushed a lot of game time out, he really pushed to the limit and it probably meant we lost some of the strike power that it gives us but it was a real team effort," said Agar.

"And while we don't want to use it as an excuse it hurt us offensively. I think defensively we were good and that's a positive but offensively we have been far better this season.

"We work every week, planning for every eventuality in case we get injury problems like that and I'm proud of the way that they rallied and adapted out there."

Warrington Wolves boss Tony Smith insists his side were well below par despite watching them eke out a last-gasp win over champions Leeds Rhinos and exact revenge for last season's Grand Final defeat.

Lee Briers was the man of the moment, knocking over a late drop goal with the scores level to seal a 19-18 win.

Ryan Hall helped himself to a double and Liam Sutcliffe and Zak Hardaker also scored for the injury-hit Rhinos but Micky Higham, Stefan Ratchford and Brett Hodgson responded for Warrington before Briers struck.

But Smith claims the Wolves, currently in third place, have been far better this term.

"We found a way to win. We haven't attacked that badly for a long time and we haven't kicked that badly since last year's Grand Final," he said.

"We've actually played a lot better than that and been beaten this year and that's not meant to take anything away from Leeds.

"I thought their effort was enormous. They were probably not at their slickest either but I thought Jamie Peacock had his best game for a long time.

"He was very instrumental in their performance. I've got to say the same about Ben Westwood, he was very, very good for us."

St Helens forced themselves back into play-off contention with a fine seven-try win over Castleford, romping home 40-24 - thanks in the main to Tommy Makinson's hat-trick.

Saints are up to seventh as a result but coach Nathan Brown remains focused on the bigger picture.

"It was good to get the result - [but] if we hadn't got the result, it wouldn't have changed where I think the club's at.

"I'm quite comfortable with where we're heading. We had another local boy [Greg Richards] who made his debut. All the kids are good, long-term players for the club.

"The key for us to go forward for the rest of the year is to play consistently well."

str/lp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130708/rugbyl-wakefield-eye-play-berth-after-fourth-straight-win