Wakefield head coach Mark Applegarth praised the leadership skills of veteran Luke Gale following the side’s 32-6 home victory over Salford Red Devils.
It marked Wakefield’s second Super League win of the season in their attempt to retain their Super League status for 2024, now just four points behind Andy Last’s Castleford Tigers in 11th spot.
Gale, who joined Wakefield from Keighley on an 18-month deal earlier in May, was featuring in just his second game under Applegarth, having made his debut against Hull KR – and his 269th Super League appearance.
The 35-year-old played a big part in the side’s victory, which was dubbed as Salford’s ‘worst’ performance under Paul Rowley by the Red Devils coach himself.
Luke Gale praised by Wakefield boss
“I thought Luke did a cracking job directing us around, it’s something we’ve been crying out for,” Applegarth said.
“He allowed Max (Jowitt) and Daggs [Will Dagger] to play their natural game. He’s excellent for that.”
Wakefield welcomed back Tom Lineham and Reece Lyne into their starting lineup, with the latter scoring a try on his return from injury.
Liam Kay opened the scoring inside three minutes for the hosts, with Will Dagger also crossing in the first half before Lee Kershaw bagged a four-pointer in the second 40.
Dagger, who made the midseason switch from Hull KR, also converting all four tries and adding four more through penalties on the night.
Wakefield claimed their first win of the season just two weeks prior with a 24-14 score against Leeds, but Applegarth admits his side won’t get carried away following their second triumph.
“We’ve been waiting for it all year,” he added.
“We talked about having a big start, we didn’t want to do that again after last week. I’m really pleased we stuck to the plan. One to 17 did the job.
“We’ve closed that [relegation] gap but we’ve still got some work to do. We’ve been working hard and I’m just pleased for the lads.
“[But] we’re not getting to get carried away with ourselves. It was an excellent performance but we need to back it up.
“You’ve got to stay focused. It feels good, it feels nice. No one likes losing.”