If Wakefield Trinity can stop shooting themselves in the foot Jarrod Sammut thinks Wildcats will hit the bullseye. Peter Smith reports.
Recent recruit Jarrod Sammut reckons Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have got something to offer this year, if they can stop shooting themselves in the foot.
Wildcats are fourth from bottom in First Utility Super League after losing their opening three games, to Salford Red Devils, Bradford Bulls and Wigan Warriors.
They recovered from a poor start to give Salford a fright in round one, but a succession of errors – with and without the ball – cost them any hope of victory against both Bradford and Wigan.
Wakefield led 6-4 early on at DW Stadium and then recovered from 30-6 down to trail only 30-18 soon after the interval, but Sammut admitted they weren’t consistent enough in defence and need to work harder as a team when trapped on their own line.
Sammut described the 46-24 defeat two days ago as “disappointing” and he said: “Obviously we’ve shown we can score tries, but we need to put our bodies on the line a bit more in defence.
“There were parts of the game where we defended really well, but it’s those times when we clock off and don’t concentrate that we let ourselves down.
“There were some really good positives there defensively, but then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot and they’d cross the line.
“I thought it was a really good opportunity for us to go there and lay a platform for the season, but again we let ourselves down.”
Wildcats were missing several first-choice players and coach Richard Agar is hopeful of fielding a stronger side in Sunday’s home clash with Catalan Dragons, particularly up front, but Sammut reckons the key to getting a first victory is attitude as much as personnel
“Nick Scruton coming in is going to be a big boost for us,” Sammut said. “But on the flip side we have got guys here who can do the job, but we all need to collectively have faith in the system.
“That means busting our backside for the bloke next to us. We do that for the majority of the game, but it’s those one or two plays where we just clock off and we find ourselves behind the posts.”
The game at Wigan was Sammut’s second as a Wakefield player, following the home loss to his previous club Bradford the previous week.
There were two debutants, teenagers Luke Briscoe and Jordan Crowther, in the side and others – Pita Godinet, Paul McShane, Daniel Smith and Matt Ryan – were playing only their third match for the club.
Sammut said: “Obviously the more we play with one another the better things will get. We will get more familiar with how one another plays.
“But we have been around for a long time. The game is very similar no matter where you are playing at.
“We have shown we can score points, it’s just for that 80 minutes staying positive and really busting our backsides for one another.”
Sammut will be joined in the team this weekend by ex-Leeds Rhinos prop Scruton, who was signed from Bradford on a one-year deal the day before the trip to Wigan.
He missed the deadline to play in that game, but Sammut reckons his former team-mate will prove a key acquisition for Wakefield.
“Look at last year at Bradford,” the Aussie said. “He took out every trophy possible, except best for back – and then again you could have said he was up there!
“He has been around some very successful teams and he has won Premierships. He has a lot of experience and that’s something that shows on the field and off the field.
“With him coming into the side we’ve got some young front-rowers and I think they can learn some things off Scroots. At the same time they can push him to keep up with his game as well.”
Sammut’s two games at Wakefield so far have been all about settling in. He had a big influence against Wigan – setting up a couple of tries and kicking four goals – and is hopeful he can continue to improve this weekend.
“I am feeling good now,” he said. “I was just glad to get that first game out of the way.
“I had a better preparation before the Wigan game and I am feeling settled, but we need to dish up something better than what we did on Sunday and the week before.
“It is a big game against Catalans. We have both still got the big goose egg, but I think we have got a lot to offer, especially with it being a home game.
“We need to put a really strong foot forward and start to show what we’ve got two offer for this season.
“We do have a lot, but at the moment we aren’t really showing that for the 80 minutes. We don’t help ourselves with the penalties and dropped balls, but even if we do give away a penalty we need to have that mindset where we’ve got no problem dealing with another set of six.
“Dropped balls is something we need to cut out. Obviously if you don’t hold the ball you’re not going to be able to score points and at the same time your energy is going to be draining because you’re constantly on the back foot defending.
“That is a big area for us we need to look at.
“Penalty-wise we can cop that and really put up a strong line in defence, but dropped balls is something we need to fix and fix fast.”