Ex-Super League referee Richard Silverwood defends Sky Sports pundit Jon Wilkin over Mark Applegarth comments

Sky Sports pundit Jon Wilkin has been in the limelight recently with a few of his comments.

Earlier in the season, his belief that the Salford Red Devils did not have the ‘minerals, steel or backbone’ rankled a number of the club’s fans as well as Director of Rugby Ian Please who took to social media to mock Wilkin when Salford’s rise to the top occurred.

Since then, Wilkin has again been trending, this week it was for his admission that he ‘knew nothing’ about new Wakefield Trinity head coach Mark Applegarth.

Applegarth, of course, has taken over from Willie Poching who departed the West Yorkshire club at the start of the week.

“I could sit here and lie and say it’s a great appointment, what a fantastic guy who will do a great job,” Wilkin said.

“The reality is, I know nothing about Mark Applegarth.

“So, in some ways, that’s a surprise isn’t it, because a guy who is unknown has got the job.”

Those comments were jumped on by a whole host of people, including former Wakefield star, Tom Johnstone, who will be joining the Catalans Dragons from 2023 onwards.

Johnstone tweeted: “Could probably just do a little bit of homework before being interviewed like a pundit’s supposed to.”

The comments from that fallout led to the piece being deleted by Sky Sports.

But, former Super League referee Richard Silverwood has come to the defence of Wilkin, stating that there is no issue with his comments given Applegarth’s relative unknown name.

Silverwood tweeted: “Really don’t see the issue. Why Google and then come on with an unnatural view. He is honest. It’s a leftfield appointment and not many other than inside the Wakefield club as well as Batley and York who he played for will know much about him. Wish more commentators were honest.”

It remains to be seen how Applegarth will fare as a head coach after previously being head of youth at Trinity.

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