WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS need to improve more than any other team in First Utility Super League, coach James Webster has admitted.
Wildcats finished 12th out of 14 last season, but the competition has been reduced by two clubs for 2015.
The top eight sides will go into play-offs to decide the Grand Finalists, with the bottom four competing against the Championship’s leading teams for places in the following year’s Super League.
Wakefield began their pre-season campaign with a 50-28 defeat at Leeds Rhinos in yesterday’s Tetley’s Festive Challenge and Webster conceded they have some hard work to do before their league opener against Castleford Tigers on February 8.
“Out of all the teams this year, we need to make the most improvement,” Webster said after yesterday’s defeat.
“Realistically, we are bottom of the pile from last year. We spend the least amount of money – by a mile – and we know we need to improve more than any other team to have a crack at that top-eight. We need to prepare better and start the season well.”
Wildcats led 12-0 after seven minutes and 18-6 on 16, but then conceded 44 unanswered points before scoring two consolation tries in the final moments.
“We played a lot of people out of position, as they did,” Webster reflected. “We came here hoping to see some positives and some things we’ve been working on, that we are on the right track.
“We also wanted to pick up where we are a bit short and obviously we are a still short defensively, in the middle especially – yet again.
“I thought we showed some good touches with the ball and a couple of things we’ve been working on came off, but it shows we are still a fair way off in the middle.
“It’s going to take us some time to get up to speed in that area.”
The coach added: “I thought we played well at the start of the game.
“We had all of the ball, which helped us, but it was disappointing we let those tries in the way we did.
“We need to be better defensively, we know that. Sometimes you learn more from a performance like that than you do by going out and winning by 30 or 40 points.
“I know what needs to be done – we just need to do it.”
Wildcats were without prop Nick Scruton, who suffered a hip flexor injury in the gym earlier this week.
Webster said they came through yesterday with no new fitness concerns.