John Minards on the factors behind Mark Applegarth earning Wakefield Trinity job

Wakefield Trinity Chairman John Minards says the style of play introduced by Mark Applegarth across the club was the key to him securing the job of head coach.

Applegarth is a former Trinity player who returned to Belle Vue in 2015 and has had a variety of roles.

He began as player performance manager, then became head of youth two years later and has remained in that role until his recent appointment to the top job.

As well as that position overseeing the Scholarship and Academy programmes, Applegarth was the coach of their Reserves this year as they reached the Grand Final, losing to Wigan Warriors.

The 37-year-old was also involved in the first team in 2022 as an assistant coach, alongside the departed pair of Willie Poching and Francis Cummins.

“What we are impressed with is our tradition of a Wakefield style of play running right the way through the club,” said Minards.

“What he’s been doing with the Scholarship, Academy, and the Reserves, who have had a very successful season, is another factor (in his appointment). 

“Playing that same brand of rugby that he sees fit is really attractive to us.”

Wakefield have been accused by some of taking the cheap option in promoting Applegarth rather than making a more high-profile appointment from outside the club, but Minards insisted they “looked widely” for the best option.

“We went through this process twelve months ago as well,” he said of their process at the end for the 2021 season, when Poching was also appointed from within.

“We very much knew what was out there then, we’d seen what had changed in that time and who might now be available.

“This was not a pre-meditated situation. We had conversations with a lot of people about whether to change or not, how the season had gone, and how we went forward.

“We looked widely and that’s why I’m absolutely confident in saying we believe this is the right person for the job.”

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