Guest column – Richard Mathers: We’re kicking ourselves at not cementing place in play-offs

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WE know the chance of play-off football is not in our hands at Wakefield Trinity.

But, if we did sneak in, I’m not sure many sides would fancy playing us the way we’ve been going.

We’ve been in some great form with our win over at Castleford last weekend meaning we now go up against St Helens tomorrow looking for a fourth consecutive victory.

It was fantastic for the club and the players to go to Cas’ and win like that in such style.

Everyone has been really working hard to put in such performances and we’ve built some very good foundations.

We had a week off after the Challenge Cup semi-final and it just seems since then everyone is really refreshed and we’ve really found our style of playing.

We are letting others worry about us rather than the other way around but we’re still not getting carried away with ourselves.

Saints are down next and they have proved so many times what a great team they are.

They are an institution and I have such admiration for some of their players over the years.

They may have got beaten by Warrington Wolves on Monday night but they showed in that match at the same time they have some class and they’ll be coming here looking to respond so we know it is going to be a real hard test.

No-one likes coming down here to our ground, though, and we obviously love playing there in front of our own fans.

It was great to beat Leeds there before going to Cas’ – two really big crowds – and attendances have gone up a lot on previous years.

For all we know the play-offs are out of our hands, at the same time we kick ourselves when we look back at some of the games where we’ve dropped two points here and two points there.

We’ve had some memorable one-off wins but we need to make sure we’re not relying on other people next year.

We were three points behind Hull KR going into this weekend and we’ve got to play them as well so that could yet be a turning point.

We’d love to have that chance of reaching the eight.

We’d have nothing to lose and we’re playing some great attacking rugby.

We’ve come a long way in a short space of time. We were all thrown together at the start of the year with so many new players but we have gelled really well.

That’s strong testament to the work of Rich Agar and how good a coach he is.

He doesn’t get much attention but, then again, he doesn’t court it. But he has had a massive influence on this squad.

Obviously, Saints have Paul Wellens, who is a player I have massive respect for.

As a full-back, he is someone I always looked up to. First it was Kris Radlinski and then Paul Wellens.

He’s done it all throughout the Super League era and we’ve had some real battles with each other over the years.

I always look to find him at the end of the match, though, and it’ll be the same on Sunday.

He’s 32 now and it looks like he’s going to sign a new deal at Saints but he could go on for years yet.

Sports science is so good and players really look after their bodies now.

The days of 10 pints after a match have gone and we’ve seen a few in Super League ignoring age and just pushing on like Lee Briers, Steve Menzies and Lee Gilmour.

It’s great to see.

Interview by Dave Craven.

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