Wakefield Trinity Wildcats captain Danny Kirmond says that victory tonight against Leeds would secure an incredible and unlikely top-eight finish: and admits that he’s undeniably proud of where the club have come from in the last year to get to this point.
Trinity were potentially just minutes away from disaster and relegation in last year’s Million Pound Game, but after beating Bradford to secure their Super League status, they have been a side reborn under Chris Chester this year.
They now know that victory tonight against Leeds would move them to within confirmation of a top eight spot – and a place in Super League next year. As well as that, they have the bonus of consigning Leeds to the bottom four in the process.
“I suppose if we could pick a game for the fans to give them something to celebrate then it would be against Leeds, wouldn’t it,” Kirmond says.
“They’re a team who have got to win this week and that’ll make them a different beast; they’ll get some confidence from last week and they’ll be a different side to one we’ve played in the past. It would be great to beat them to secure the top eight finish, though.
“I’m immensely proud as captain of where we’ve come in the last 12 months. We’ve spoken about changing perceptions of Wakefield and with the right people running the club off the field, it’s starting to show off it. Brian Smith put a great squad together and Chezzy has done a real job of bonding it into a team who stick together.”
Everyone seems to be assuming that if Wakefield make the eight, that is their season done and it is mission accomplished – but Kirmond was quick to pour cold water on any such lack of ambition.
“I can understand why people are making a big deal out of us being in the eight given what happened last year, but we want to aim higher.
“Six weeks into the year when it was really topsy-turvy and not going too well, we’d have snatched your hand off at a top eight finish. It’s easy to look down but I think we can actually look up at the moment and eye some teams above us.
“I think a win on Friday would secure the top eight, but we’re not resting on our laurels and targeting eighth. The top four will be difficult but hey, let’s finish fifth and what a season that would be.”
And with a Challenge Cup quarter-final on the horizon too, Kirmond cautiously admits this year could truly become one to remember.
“It could turn out to be a special period for this club.
“The cup is something I hold in close regard, it has a special place in my heart. I missed out on a final with Huddersfield a few years ago due to injury and it would be special, something completely remarkable, to be able to battle all the way to Wembley with my hometown club.
“It’s what dreams are made of; we’ve got a massive tie to look forward to against the Giants and it’s just another thing this club and the fans can look forward to.”