“If the club went down, then that’s it” – Mark Applegarth talks ahead of relegation Grand Final

There are some big games this weekend as Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors and Hull FC and St Helens and Hull KR meet in big games in the play-off race but they are no where near the biggest game of the weekend.

This is undoubtedly is the clash between Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers on Friday night at 20:00.

The game will be shown live on Sky Sports as well as the two meet in what feels like a do or die battle for survival in Super League.

It is reminiscent of their meeting at the end of 2006 in which Mark Applegarth was involved.

He recalled that meeting on BBC Radio Leeds: “Yeah, it was a weird one. I remember it really well if I’m honest with you. I wasn’t playing, but I knew the significance of the game. I had a year left on my contract and we’d all been told that basically if the club went down, then that’s it.

“So I was thinking, this 80 minutes is going to decide whether I’ve got a job for next year or not. Not being able to play, I was young and a bit of a squad member. It brought added nerves to it.

“You look at some of the lads that played in that game, they just made sure that they showed up for each other and put the best foot forward, took the emotion out of it as such, in terms of what we’re getting built up outside and just focus on playing the game that we’re in front of you.

“That’s pretty much the blueprint for most games in professional sport, isn’t it? Just play the game, not the occasion that it’s built up to be.”

“One thing that really stuck out about that group to me and how I remember it’s not for what they did on the field it’s how they were off the field and the sort of stuff that they taught me as a young guy and some of the lessons that I still base myself on to this day.”

Interestingly, Danny Ward has branded Trinity as favourites for the game as he prepares to take charge of his first game.

This was Mark Applegarth’s response:

“I think he’s being smart, just trying to take a bit of pressure off himself.

“As I’ve said, we got wrote off many a month ago, I think we were favourites to go down at the start of the year and we were definitely favourites even six weeks ago.

“We’re just taking it one week at a time. We’re just happy we’ve clawed it back to be in our hands and we’ll just embrace each week at a time like that.”