Danny Kirmond believes Castleford-Wakefield derbies are “often overlooked” in the world of rugby league – but he says can’t remember such an eagerly-anticipated one as today’s showdown at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The Tigers and Trinity are both flying high in Super League, with Cas top of the table and Wakefield fifth after three wins in succession.
The attention is often on Wigan-St Helens and Hull-Hull KR derbies over the Easter period – leading Kirmond to tell TotalRL that he feels the West Yorkshire derby can often evade attention: something both sides are keen to put right.
“I can’t remember one where both teams have been playing so well,” he said.
“I’ve been here seven years now and this is the first time where the anticipation has been so high. Both teams are playing good, attractive rugby and they’re getting results too, so it’s one we go into with a lot of excitement. The whole buzz is huge and we can’t wait.
“It’s right up there with the big ones. It often gets overlooked does Cas v Wakey; probably because of where we are in the way that we’re situated in small mining towns and we’ve both got old stadiums, so it gets overlooked. But if you’ve been to one and witnessed the atmosphere then you’ll know there’s not many better. The Cas ground produces a great atmosphere as well, it’s always really loud and really hostile and one we’re looking forward to.”
Over 10,000 tickets have been sold for the game as Trinity look to break into the top four by becoming only the second team to beat Castleford this season – something Kirmond insists is not beyond his side on Friday afternoon.
He said: “We go there with belief and confidence – and that’s justified. It’s not arrogance; we’re just confident because of how we’re performing and how we’re training. If we don’t work hard, we know we won’t give ourselves a chance.
“You’ve got to match fire with fire. Their backs get a lot of plaudits and rightly so, but the first thin you’ve got to do with Cas is stop the big men: and I don’t think many teams have been able to do that so far.”
Kirmond is eyeing a big Easter for Trinity – just like 12 months ago. They won all three games over the Easter period last season to spark a charge up the Super League table which ultimately saw them make the top eight: and Kirmond is keen for a repeat in 2017.
“Over the last six years we’ve been able to win the one-off games but it’s the consistency that has been lacking,” he said.
“This is a good time to show we can do that and if we pick up a couple of wins this weekend, it leaves us in a really good position after the Easter period.
“Last year, we won three out of three over Easter and it can leave you in a good place: you start looking up, not down. We want to get some breathing space between ourselves and the teams below us and Easter is a great time of year to do that.”