Player agent discusses “biggest gamble ever” and tips Super League coach for NRL future

Player agent, Craig Harrison, who owns and runs player agency Show Me The Money has stated that the appointment of Mark Applegarth and his assistant James Ford is “the biggest gamble ever” in Super League.

Applegarth served as an assistant coach to former Trinity boss, Willie Poching, but following his departure he has been promoted to the top job and aged just 38 he is the league’s youngest Head Coach at present.

Having started his playing career with Wakefield he returns to lead his former club in what looks set to be one of the most competitive Super League seasons in recent memory with promoted Leigh Leopards recruiting heavily, leaving Trinity behind on only four new signings.

Applegarth brings with him James Ford who coached Applegarth in his final season at York City Knights, whom Ford has coached since 2015.

The lack of experience paired with a large squad turnover losing players such as Tom Johnstone, David Fifita and captain Jacob Miller has prompted Harrison to issue his concerns on his agency’s Youtube channel, Show Me The Money TV.

“The main thing at Wakefield at the moment is the two coaches, Mark Applegarth and James Ford. Two young coaches, two fantastically rated coached, two brilliant people in my opinion but I think it’s the biggest gamble ever.

“I’ve told them both this, I think they’ve both been thrown in there. Wakefield historically have always kept their head above water, is that success for Wakey this season? Well no, because Chester was challenging for top six at one time and last year they had a good run.”

With only four new signings to replace nine players including the aforementioned Miller, Johnstone and Fifita and the huge activity of 11th placed Warrington and newly promoted Leigh who have both made signings of quality and quantity it could be a tough season for Trinity.

Applegarth oversaw the Boxing Day win against Leeds Rhinos with a flurry of late tries securing a 38-20 victory but Super League games will be a whole different matter, and Harrison backs the pair to land the gamble that Trinity have taken.

“I think the best signing are these two coaches, they’re going to go for it, they’ve got no fear, it’ll be brilliant to see the journey that they go on and regardless of what happens I think they’ll both learn so much.

“In ten years time they could be England coaches or go onto the NRL, they’re that highly rated but this journey that they’re going to co on this year is a case of get ready and put your hats on because it’s going to be an absolute rollercoaster for them.”

The new signings that Wakefield have made are former Kiwi international Kevin Proctor, Catalans Dragons centre Samisoni Langi and the pair who debuted on Boxing Day and impressed being Featherstone’s Morgan Smith and NRL import Renouf Atoni.

Despite Harrison’s faith in the two new coaches the bookmakers are less favourable towards Trinity making them the rank outsiders for Grand Final victory at 100/1 with Leigh Leopards being the next biggest price at 40/1.

Moreover Wakefield are heavily odds on to be bottom six, again being the favourites to finish in the bottom half with a price of 1/25 meaning you’d have to place a £25 bet to win £1.

Hopefully for Trinity’s sake they can prove the bookies wrong and repay the faith shown in them by the owners and board.

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