Mark Applegarth says defeat ‘sums season up’ as coach admits to ‘horrible’ experience 

Josh McAllister
Mark Applegarth Wakefield Trinity SWpix

Photo: John Clifton/SWpix

Mark Applegarth says the 30-4 defeat to Leigh inside St James’ Park, their 14th straight Super League loss, sums Wakefield’s season up. 

Adrian Lam’s Leigh had been reduced to 12 men just before the half hour mark as Ben Reynolds was sent for a punch on the returning David Fifita, who recently answered the club’s SOS calls. 

The Leopards then found themselves down to 11 men after Tom Nisbet was sent to the sin-bin for a hip drop tackle on Jay Pitts.

Despite their advantage, Wakefield failed to post any points during that period, and only managed to avoid their sixth nilling of the season in the 71st minute as full-back Max Jowitt scored a consolation try. 

Mark Applegarth on 14th straight defeat

“I think it sums up the story of our year so far if I’m honest,” Applegarth conceded.

“Anyone watching that game as a neutral and just turned on at half time probably thought we were the team down to 12 men the way we played. 

“We’ve just had a chat in there about making sure you’re doing your own jobs and bringing that quality, whether that’s me as a coach, players as individuals and then what we do as a team.

“At the moment, we’re not playing as a team. We’re playing as a bunch of individuals and it’s showing badly.”

It’s the third defeat this year to Leigh that Wakefield have endured in both league and cup, with a trip to Headingley Stadium next up to face Leeds.

And Applegarth admits every game is a must-win with the hopes of retaining their Super League status for 2024.

“We’ve never had that luxury of saying this game isn’t a win.”

“Week on week now, when you’re bottom of the league and you’re chasing a deficit, every game is must win,” he said.

“We’ve never had that luxury of saying this game isn’t a win.”

Despite falling to their 15th straight defeat in 2023, including the Challenge Cup loss to the Leopards, Applegarth remains adamant that he is the right man to lead the club forward. 

“It’s a horrible experience to go through but you’ve got to front it up head on. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing everything you can and I do feel like I’m doing everything we can,” the coach continued.

“Whether that’s making sure we’re best prepared, looking at opposition and any weaknesses.

“This week, I thought we had really good prep. We just haven’t served up the quality and now we’ve got to look at why, is it a tactical error, is it messages that I’m giving or is it the quality of what we’re trying to do.

“That’s the frustrating part about it all.”

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