Mark Applegarth finally picked up his first win of the season yesterday at the fourteenth time of asking.
Appointed as Wakefield’s new head coach prior to the season, Applegarth has overseen one of the toughest starts ever seen by a Super League coach having lost 13 games in a row with Trinity rooted to the bottom of the table.
But Sunday finally saw some relief for the rookie coach, as his side produced a stunning win over local rivals Leeds Rhinos to pick up their first two competition points.
Speaking after the game at Belle Vue, Applegarth revealed in his press conference the tough impact the run of defeats has had on his family, with many of them subjected to abuse on social media.
“I’m worried about not thanking everyone but yeah I’ve just got a strong network around me and I don’t want to thank one or two because I don’t want to offend a couple that I miss but John and Michael have been great too.
“They know exactly what’s been happening and where we’re at so I suppose I’d like to thank them too because I know they put up with quite a lot of criticism as well.
“It wasn’t me I was worried about, it was my family, some of the things they’ve seen written about me. When my wife has got to read comments about certain abuse, it is them I worried about.”
Wakefield can’t build on this next week because they have a week off before they face Hull KR at Craven Park – another game Trinity will be targeting as they look to continue what would be a great escape.
Despite the win over Leeds, Applegarth and his players still have somewhat of a mountain to climb as they sit four points adrift of the only other team who look likely to be dragged into a relegation fight – neighbours Castleford Tigers.
But the Tigers, who also beat Leeds last week before losing to Salford on Friday, have a much better points difference than Trinity meaning Applegarth’s side would need to win three more games than Castleford between now and the end of the season.
Despite this, there is now optimism at the West Yorkshire club with Applegarth playing down the fact Wakefield won’t play next week as Super League takes a break for the Challenge Cup.
Asked if he is disappointed by the break, Applegarth said: “Yes and no, we got a lot of busted bodies. I mean, Jay Pitts should not have played today. He was playing on one leg. He’s put his hand up for the team.
“So I’m glad that we’ll be able to pressure a few up. Yeah, but at the same time, it’d be nice to continue that momentum with it for sure. it’d be nice to continue that momentum with it for sure.”
Going into more details on those injuries, the Wakefield boss added: “Kelepi’s had surgery on his broken arm, most of the other injuries should be there or thereabouts. So again it creates competition for places and some of the younger end of that squad have grown into it today.
“They’ve answered a few questions they probably had in their own head and hopefully we can kick on and start putting some pressure on them teams around us.”