SHOCKED COACH Richard Agar accused his players of not trying during Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ embarrassing 44-6 drubbing at Hull KR.
“What we served up there was terribly, terribly short of where we want to be,” Agar admitted after seeing his side concede eight tries in a one-sided non-contest.
Wakefield’s only touchdown was an interception four minutes from time, by Pita Godinet, which Jarrod Sammut converted. They were fortunate to avoid a whitewash and the incident which gave Rovers a 22-0 lead on the stroke of half-time summed up a miserable afternoon for the visitors.
Kris Keating’s grubber kick over the line was covered by Paul Sykes, but he was completely deceived by the bounce, lost it and Kris Welham claimed a freak score.
Sykes was named on the teamsheet at stand-off with Sammut as full-back, but the roles were reversed on the field.
Welham’s touchdown was Rovers’ second soft try of a game which they dominated, without having to do anything special.
Eleven minutes before the interval Rhys Lovegrove burst clear with support, but ran straight into Sykes. Rovers received a penalty though, in front of the posts and after they opted for a tap, Travis Burns went close and then Josh Hodgson caught the ‘defence’ napping to sneak over from acting-half.
That made it 16-0 after Rovers had raced 10 points clear inside the opening 13 minutes.
A couple of fortunate repeat sets allowed them to assert some early pressure which paid off when Adam Walker’s offload found Neville Costigan and he stretched over for his first Super League try.
Wildcats struggled to deal with Rovers’ go-forward and the hosts’ second try came on the final play from a 20-metre tap, Omari Caro getting over at the corner after Burns, Keating and Welham had handled across the line.
Wakefield had a couple of good chances, both falling to Peter Fox – who was brilliantly tackled by Ben Cockayne on each occasion.
The second of those came during a rare spell of Wakefield pressure which ended when Caro broke clear from inside his own half, dummied Sykes and went over for a brilliant long-range try, early in the second half.
Wakefield looked to have scored when Reece Lyne collected Godinet’s kick, but the in-goal judge reckoned he had been held up on the last.
Hull KR forced a drop out in the resulting set and Keating waltzed through some awful defence for the home side’s sixth try, on 58. That was followed moments later by a seventh, created by Keating and scored by Josh Hodgson, though again the defence made little real effort to prevent it.
Even that wasn’t as bad as it got for Wildcats. They held out until the 73rd minute before Welham was able to saunter through unmolested for his second touchdown and Burns completed the home scoring with his sixth goal.
Wildcats’ players may not have put their bodies on the line, but Agar pulled no punches afterwards.
He said: “It is fair to say we absolutely did not see that coming. We thought we prepared really well for the game and we don’t feel we were beaten by outstanding football – it was more a question of what we were lacking.
“That’s taking nothing away from the opposition. They carried the ball really hard and beat us to the punch in every facet of the game.
“They ran harder and tackled harder and undoubtedly wanted it more. It has thrown up a lot of question marks as to why we would get a performance so lacking in skill, in smartness and at times effort and desire.”
Agar added: “Some of the defence in the second half looked as if they had given up. There was a lack of effort and it looked like we had stuck up the white flag.
“That is a difficult one for us as coaches and we’ve got a lot of questions need answering. The first place we’ll look is ourselves – did we prepare this team right?”
Hull KR: Cockayne, Gardner, Salter, Welham, Caro, Burns, Keating, A Walker, J Hodgson, Weyman, Larroyer, Cox, Costigan. Subs (all used) Green, Carlile, Netherton, Lovegrove.
Wakefield Wildcats: Sammut, Fox, Collis, Lyne, Riley, Sykes, Godinet, Anderson, McShane, Scruton, Ryan, Kirmond, Washbrook. Subs (all used) Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Tautai, Siejka.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).