We round up all the key quotes from the Betfred Super League head coaches on Day 2 of Magic Weekend, which saw wins for Leigh Leopards, St Helens and Hull FC…
Contrasting emotions for Applegarth and Lam
Mark Applegarth is still confident he is the right man to lead Wakefield Trinity whichever division they are in next year after they fell to another defeat, this time going down 30-4 at the hands of Leigh Leopards.
The loss was Wakefield’s 14th defeat of the Super League season, and they are now six points behind 11th-placed Castleford Tigers after their neighbours defeated Leeds Rhinos in the last game of Day 1 in Newcastle on Saturday.
Trinity were beaten despite Leigh having to play a significant part of the match with 12 men following Ben Reynolds’ first-half red card and while Applegarth admitted his frustration at his side’s failure to get off the mark so far in 2023, he still thinks he is the one to oversee their rebuild whether they survive in Super League or end up being relegated to the Betfred Championship.
“I do,” Applegarth said. “It’s a horrible experience to go through, but you’ve got to front it up head on and make sure you’re doing everything you can.
“I feel like I’m doing everything I can, whether that’s making sure we’re as best prepared, looking at our opposition and where we feel there are going to be some weaknesses.
“This week, for example, I think we’ve had really good prep, we’ve just not served up the quality on the Sunday and that’s the part I’m looking at now.
“Is it a tactical error? Is it some messages I’m giving or the quality of what we’re trying to do? That’s the frustrating part about it.”
Leigh, in contrast, have now won seven games in a row in all competitions and even found themselves with 11 players on the pitch at one point after Tom Nisbet was sin-binned. Head coach Adrian Lam was therefore naturally delighted with the character shown by the team.
“Down to 11 men with the last 10 minutes before half-time where we defended our line, I thought that was a really special moment for us as a club,” Lam, who was named Super League coach of the month for May, said.
“In hindsight, looking back now, you can’t train those moments and it’s about having trust in each other, I thought the way we scrambled in that period was unbelievable, so I’m really proud of them for that.”
Wellens heaps praise on record-breaker Makinson
Four tries and seven goals from Tommy Makinson saw the St Helens winger rack up a Magic Weekend record of 28 individual points as his side trounced Huddersfield Giants 48-6 in Newcastle.
The England international’s haul helped make it back-to-back wins for the reigning Super League champions and lifted them into the play-off places on points difference from Hull Kingston Rovers.
Saints head coach Paul Wellens was quick to sing the praises of Makinson for his efforts, although typically as a coach he focused on his defensive contributions as well as his attacking ones.
“I’m delighted with Tommy,” Wellens said. “Whilst he has not been playing poorly, what I really liked today was it will be about him scoring four tries, but I loved his strong defensive work and making strong decisions.
“When Tommy gets that side of his game right, as well as the finishing which undoubtedly he’s wonderful at, you’ve got the complete winger and that’s why he’s up there as one of the best wingers in the world.”
It was a frustrating afternoon for Wellens’ opposite number Ian Watson though as the defeat left Huddersfield six points off the play-offs and the Giants boss had a stark warning for the players he believes are under-performing.
“It was nowhere near the level of performance we need to be,” Watson said. “Some individuals are way of the mark at the moment and it’s up to them to get better or for us to make a choice on whether to replace them going forward.
“You don’t want to have to drop players or take them out, you want them to do their job, but sometimes players go through a bit of a dip and it’s a cut-throat business. You have to be that way and make those calls on people.”
How Hull FC turned defence into attack
Things are looking up for Hull FC, who have now won four of their last five Super League matches after defeating Warrington Wolves 30-18 in the final game of this year’s Magic Weekend.
A hat-trick from second row Josh Griffin after the break helped them fight back from being 12-0 down early on and having to defend their own line for large parts of the first half.
Black and Whites head coach Tony Smith felt it was those defensive efforts which helped set them up for the second-half fightback which moved them to within four points of the play-off places.
“Sometimes defending your own line can take the petrol out of you for the rest of the game but it did quite the opposite,” Smith said.
“It energised us actually and we were all ready to go in the second half. I thought Josh turned back the clock with having to use his speed to score tries. It was terrific and I was pleased for him.”
Warrington had led through tries from Connor Wrench and George Williams, with Wrench’s second temporarily putting them back in front during the second half.
They were unable to close the game out though and Wolves head coach Daryl Powell lamented not taking the opportunity to return to the top of the Super League table.
“The way we started the first half was class, but the start of the second half was non-existent really,” Powell said.
“We’ve lost a bit of confidence at the moment and we’re working hard to get it back. We feel like when we fix up one part of our game another part is not quite there, and there’s a bit to do defensively.”
#Magic #Weekend #coaches #Day #Super #Leagues #big #event #Newcastle