Tonight was the dawn of an exciting new era at Wakefield Trinity.
They had four debutants in the side and it was exciting young coach Mark Applegarth’s first game in charge.
It was played in front of the backdrop of a stadium that is excitingly being redeveloped.
Trinity in the end didn’t get the win they wanted despite some encouraging signs against Catalans Dragons tonight.
This will have delighted Applegarth’s opposite number Steve McNamara but the Catalans coach was less than pleased by the pitch.
As part of the redevelopment, Wakefield have a new pitch which marries an artificial turf with the real thing.
However, McNamara revealed its gory consequence for his players.
He said after the game:
“It was a pretty tough game on a pitch that took skin of your legs. The boys there, their legs are red raw. It’s an issue. It’s an issue for Wakefield moving forward for their players. I haven’t seen anything like that before in terms of the blisters and blood that’s in there off that field there.”
When asked if he was a fan, he said: “No I’m not a fan, not if that’s the outcome. If the outcome is that, then definitely. It’s going to create issues I’m sure. We haven’t got to play on it again but they have to play on it every other week.
“I didn’t quite realise it was like that before we came. We’d seen pictures but it’s an issue.”
He then stated: “That’s the worst dressing room I’ve seen for skin taken off legs without a doubt.”
So, the pitch did damage to the Dragons but it was the Dragons’ former Wakefield star Tom Johnstone who did the damage to Trinity.
On the winger, McNamara said:
“Three class finishes, he has been renowned for it for all his career.
“He does the hard work as well. I spoke about that before the game. Said he didn’t have to score for him to have a good game.
“I thought our kicking game was good. It is start of the season, so you have to get basic things right and the kicking game is part of that.
“We spent a lot of time with Tom. We only had seven players for the first few weeks of pre-season. It was like being a school teacher in a class 30. You can’t give them all the attention they need but if there is only a few you can.
“It was an MOT, a once over, we said let’s prevent further injuries happening.”
Also pulling the strings was fellow debutant Adam Keighran. McNamara revealed the centre only trained once in the halves before picking apart Wakefield tonight.