Wakefield Trinity have confirmed that head coach Mark Applegarth and assistant Sean Long have left their roles ahead of the club’s imminent takeover.
Applegarth took over the head coaching reins at Trinity ahead of the 2023 campaign but they were relegated from Super League to the Championship after managing just four wins from 27 games in a challenging campaign.
Wakefield are set to enter a new era ahead of 2024 under the new ownership of Matt Ellis, who announced his intentions of appointing Daryl Powell as the new head coach on a four-year deal, although it has yet to be officially confirmed by the club.
Applegarth is seeking a fresh challenge following his exit from his hometown club, who he played 27 games for between 2004 and 2007.
The 38-year-old said: “Firstly I’d like to thank Michael (Carter, chief executive) and the board for the opportunity to lead this great club and the support they have shown me, not only this year, but since I first came back in 2016.
“It’s been a privilege and an honour to coach my hometown club.
“Whilst it was disappointing for it to finish as it has under challenging circumstances, the opportunity doesn’t come round often.
“I gave it everything I had with every decision made with the best interests of the club at heart.
“I genuinely wish Matt (Ellis, new owner), Daryl (Powell) and the rest of the new team well.
“It’s an exciting time to be supporting Wakefield and after speaking with Matt on numerous occasions, I know he has a burning desire to take this club back to where it belongs which is challenging for honours on a regular basis.”
Wakefield chief pays tribute to departing head coach Mark Applegarth
Trinity chief executive Michael Carter has paid tribute to the service Applegarth gave to the club, including his time as head of youth before going on to take the head coaching role.
Carter said: “I’ve spoke to Mark at length regarding his role at the club with the imminent takeover, and Mark has decided to seek pastures new.
“When Mark joined the club back in 2016, he managed to turn a failing academy into one that has consistently produced players and being assessed as Good, and in some parts Excellent by the RFL. This was no mean achievement given the shoestring budget he was operating with.
“Then when given the chance to become head coach, despite the numerous challenges, financial and otherwise, he gave it his all, and his work ethic for this club can only be admired.
“Mark has given his heart and soul to this club and will be sorely missed. But I wish him, and his family, every success for the future, and he is welcome back at any time.”
Sean Long also leaves Belle Vue
Wakefield have also confirmed that Sean Long has left his role as assistant coach with the club, with the former Featherstone boss having arrived at Belle Vue to be Applegarth’s right-hand man in August.
“Assistant coach Sean Long has also now left the club and the club would like to thank him for his service and dedication in his short spell with the club,” a Trinity statement read.