Huddersfield Giants coach Paul Anderson has expressed his sympathy for opposite number Wakefield Trinity coach Richard Agar.
While the Giants celebrated winning the Super League Leaders Shield after their 40-0 home win over Wakefield, Anderson acknowledged the blow his rivals had taken with the loss of influential playmaker Tim Smith.
The 28-year-old stand-off was sold to Salford 48 hours before the derby clash at the John Smith’s Stadium by new Trinity chairman Michael Carter to ease the club’s dire financial problems, and the Wildcats never looked capable of spoiling the Giants table-topping party.
“I thought it was a poor game and Wakefield came with a plan to slow things down,” said Anderson. “But they had the guts ripped out of them by losing their talisman and I can’t imagine how Rich (Agar) feels about losing his main playmaker two days before the game.”
Agar said he was told of Smith’s sale to Salford on Friday and revealed that big-spending City Reds had made approaches to other Wildcats players.
“Salford have directly contacted three or four of our players and we notified the league about it,” he said.
“It’s disappointing, there are ways and means of doing things.”
Agar, who gave a full debut to 20-year-old Bobbie Goulding, son of the former St Helens and Great Britain scrum-half of the same name, admitted the uncertainty had an effect on his team and says he is still in the dark over the club’s future.
“We didn’t have the ideal preparation,” he said.
“I sat the players down yesterday and told them Timmy had been sold to pay the wages. I sensed a very quiet dressing room before kick-off.
“It’s been a difficult few days to say the least. The problems started to emerge two months ago but the true extent of them have come out in the last couple of weeks.
“I still don’t think I’m aware of everything but I have a lot of respect for Michael Carter and he’ll tell us where we’re at.
“I am not afraid of a challenge. It’s quite apparent that the club is in a bit of trouble and to get this club at a point where it is surviving is the most important thing.”
The Senior Giants Association hold their latest meeting in the Fantastic Media Suite at the John Smith’s Stadium tomorrow (2.15) when the open to question guest will be Chris Rostron, who is Cares General Manager at the Rugby Football League.