MARK APPLEGARTH says that James Ford has been a “god-send” as his assistant coach at Wakefield Trinity.
Applegarth is approaching his first season as a head coach, but has been able to call upon the services of his old mate Ford.
The pair first worked together at Wakefield College, while still also playing professionally, and Applegarth was also a player and assistant coach to Ford when he first took the reins at York in 2015.
Ford only left the Knights, after eight largely successful years, to join Applegarth, who in that time climbed the coaching ranks at Trinity.
“Fordy has been a great help, he’s got quite a few years head-coaching experience,” said Applegarth.
“It’s good having people around that I can trust and bounce ideas off.
“Fordy is a rugby nerd. He’s a really detailed coach, he breaks the game down, he thinks about everything. He’s really good at speaking to the group.
“I just really like how he thinks about the game. We’re very similar in some ways and very different in others. I think we complement each other well and I’m enjoying working with him again.
“We’re a better team for having him with us. He’s definitely been a god-send for me.
“He’s going to be an excellent head coach in his own time as well at Super League level.”
Applegarth explained their working relationship now that he is the senior coach.
“I’m not one of these head coaches who feels like they’ve got to be in control of everything,” he said.
“(Ford) knows what remit I want from him and we learn from everyone. We learn from each other and we learn from the playing group.
“There will be some sessions where I’m in the background, some sessions where he is, there will be some sessions where we’re both in the background and it’s more player-led. It’s dynamic.
“We’ve got a really good working relationship. I’ll challenge him and he’ll challenge me. Sometimes we’ll have some good honest talks with each other and ultimately we push each other to get better every day.”
This article comes from this week’s issue of League Express. You can take out a subscription by going to https://www.totalrl.com/league-express/