Growing up in and around Wakefield, it goes without saying Danny Kirmond knows a fair bit about his hometown club’s affiliation with the Challenge Cup.
Trinity have had some special performances in the sport’s oldest competition, winning it on five separate occasions. However, their last win came all the way back in 1963 – and their last appearance in the final was almost 40 years ago, in 1979.
Kirmond came desperately close to leading his hometown club out at Wembley last year, getting to within one game of the final before Wakefield fell in the semi-finals to Warrington. However, the 31-year-old’s appetite to create cup history with his club has not waned 12 months on.
“The club has got a lot of history in the Challenge Cup and it would be nice to create a bit of our own,” he admits.
“The cup is something that suits us because on our day we can beat most teams and challenge anyone really. As I say, it suits us and there’s never a second chance in the cup – if you don’t play well you’re out. You’re not too far from Wembley now but it’s going to be an exciting one.
“It’s everything for me. I remember playing on a bit of grass as a kid and it was always the Challenge Cup Final we were playing in! The Australians who come over all talk about the cup; I’ve been to the final before but was injured – so it would be great to get there with my hometown club.”
Standing in Wakefield’s way of a second successive appearance of the last four are Salford – a side who, like Trinity, have exceeded expectations in 2017.
One of the league’s two big surprise packages will find themselves 80 minutes away from a Wembley final come 10pm on Thursday night, and Kirmond is determined it will be his side who prevail.
He insists: “Potentially we can do whatever we want. There are no limits set on us and we haven’t set any on ourselves.
“We’ve a lot of belief in the squad and in each other and there’s a great atmosphere around the camp – you can see that with people signing up and extending their deals nice and early. That’s the way the club is going now so the cup is a great change of perspective for us.
“Last year we ran out of bodies a little bit in the semi-finals and didn’t do ourselves justice, but there’s a tough opponent in the way in the shape of Salford.”