Wakefield Trinity v Catalans Dragons: Hosts told to avoid excuses in survival scrap

Wakefield Trinity head coach Mark Applegarth has told his players that they must shrug off any physical or mental fatigue to protect the club's proud Super League record.

The perennial underdogs have been in the top flight since 1999 thanks to a series of successful survival missions but Wakefield's Super League status is hanging by a thread in the closing stages of a season that has taken its toll on Applegarth's squad.

Trinity have been ravaged by injuries throughout the year and their best efforts have produced just four wins, leaving them two points behind relegation rivals Castleford Tigers with three rounds remaining.

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Fatigue has been evident in recent error-ridden performances but Applegarth will not allow his players to feel sorry for themselves.

"It's an excuse, at the end of the day," said Applegarth ahead of Friday's home date with Catalans Dragons.

"Everyone is in the same boat and has roughly played the same amount of games, barring one or two.

"There's going to be physical and mental fatigue for everyone but that's just a victim mentality.

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"You've got to push through that. There's no excuse. All you can do is find a way to adapt, deal with it and get better.

Wakefield fell to a fourth straight defeat against St Helens. (Photo: John Clifton/SWpix.com)Wakefield fell to a fourth straight defeat against St Helens. (Photo: John Clifton/SWpix.com)
Wakefield fell to a fourth straight defeat against St Helens. (Photo: John Clifton/SWpix.com)

"There probably is (fatigue) but you won't hear me moaning about that. At this level, you get burnt for those sorts of errors. We need to fix them up."

A former player and a long-time coach who was born and raised in the city, Applegarth appreciates the importance of Super League rugby to Wakefield.

The Trinity boss has challenged his players to show how much they want to keep the club in the top flight.

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When asked whether the squad shared his desperation, Applegarth replied: "I hope so.

Trinity have not won since late July. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)Trinity have not won since late July. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Trinity have not won since late July. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

"We're just taking it one game at a time. As I said earlier in the year, until things can't change mathematically, we'll definitely have that mindset.

"We're under no illusions that we have got to get a win and Castleford have got to slip up at some stage.

"We'll be doing everything we can to get that win and put the pressure back on them.”

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Wakefield have lost four games in a row since hammering Warrington Wolves at the end of July.

Applegarth has called for cool heads against Catalans.

"It's frustration more than anything because we keep talking about resilience and composure," he said on recent performances.

"The effort and application is there but you're not going to win games with the skill executions we keep coming up with because the errors are costing us heavily.

"We've been focusing on cutting them out of our games and keeping the pressure on the opposition and not being the first team to crack.

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"When you're playing teams such as St Helens and Catalans, they're at the top for a reason – because they tend to handle that sort of pressure and come out the other side.

"We're under no illusions but are looking forward to it. We've got three games now where it's do or die."

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