Points For: 685
Points Against: 609
Home Record: W8 L5
Away Record (including Magic weekend): W8 L6
Longest Winning Streak: 5
Longest Losing Streak: 4
Top Points Scorer: Danny Brough (178)
Top Try Scorer: Ryan Atkins (13)
Top Tackler: Jason Demetriou (738)
A tough season for Wakefield ended on a sour note as the Wildcats rather tamely fell out of the playoffs. It’s a shame, because with the gruesome season that Wakefield have endured (a player dying in preseason, another academy player dying on the pitch) reaching the playoffs is a massive achievement and one of the shining examples of John Kear’s coaching ability.
Wakefield tended to succeed on the back of outstanding play from Danny Brough, and it was no coincidence that when he didn’t play in the playoff game against Les Cats that the Wildcats looked flat and dull. It was odd because throughout the season scoring has not been Wakefield’s problem (fourth most points in the competition). Rather, the problem was a simple one of consistency, because on their day Wakefield were as good as anyone.
What made the Wildcat’s exit from the playoffs that much odder was that they wee coming into them on the back of their most consistent form all season. Although few teams were consistent all year, the Wildcats still managed to win fairly regularly, with their only real consistent patch of losing right in the middle of their season. They also hadn’t lost to the Dragons all year and indeed got the better of every side at least once except for Leeds (who required a miracle comeback to win the second time) and Huddersfield, who seemed to be their bogey team.
Wakefield have a collection of crafty veterans, but they also have an interesting collection of young players as well. The brightest of these in the last few weeks has been Luke George, who has overcome injury to rocket himself onto Super League’s stage with eight tries in his final four games. If another young player like Aaron Murphy can break through alongside George next year then that would be pretty nice for a club that has had far too many problems over the past year.
Wakefield are definitely going to find it tougher next year. Ryan Atkins, their top try scorer, is leaving for pastures new at Warrington, and they also lose Brad Drew (important to taking pressure off Brough) back to Huddersfield. Of all the sides who finished in the top eight this season, Wakefield seem the most likely side to lose their spot there next season. But then, they were deemed unlikely to make the playoffs this year, weren’t they? In fact, considering they were many people’s tip to finish near the bottom, and considering they have John Kear as coach, I’m going to try and wait before making judgements about Wakey because tehy’ll probably defy them anyway.