Willie Poching says looking after the ball better will help Wakefield “turn the corner” after a seventh straight defeat in all competitions.
Trinity were the fall guys as Rohan Smith claimed his first win as Leeds coach with a 24-6 Headingley success.
It lifted the third-bottom Rhinos three points clear of vanquished Wakefield, who must have been relieved to learn basement side Toulouse had lost at Huddersfield.
Nevertheless, with only two points separating Trinity and the Super League newcomers, coach Poching is feeling the heat amid reports linking star winger Tom Johnstone with a move to Catalans Dragons next year, skipper and halfback Jacob Miller with Castleford and forward James Batchelor with Hull KR.
He played down the talk, insisting: “It’s the nature of the game, it’s that time of year, and I don’t want to get into it too much.
“At the moment it’s speculation. Rumours are from outside so we can’t let it affect us.”
Johnstone missed the Leeds game with a groin injury, while Wakefield lost Lee Gaskell, who was playing fullback, to a head knock (Thomas Minns took over having started the game on the wing).
“Thomas played there in the Reserves last week, but he’s really a centre, and he got tested a couple of times,” said Poching.
“To lose someone of Gaskell’s experience is always costly. We had trained really well with him at fullback, and he was kicking well, finding some repeat sets for us, and chiming in really well.”.
Poching will try to make the most of a blank weekend as he prepares for home meeting with Hull on Sunday week, June 5.
“I thought we made some inroads and improvements defensively, but it became a situation where we had to defend too much on the back of some of our errors,” he continued.
“If we can improve our ball retention and some of our ball control and give ourselves some opportunities to put pressure on the opposition, we’ll turn the corner.”
Wakefield have entered a dual-registration agreement with Sheffield Eagles.
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