Wakefield Wildcats return to pre-season training this week with a full complement of fit players ready to start preparing for the coming campaign.
After disrupted pre-seasons in recent years due to the late arrival of players or administration worries hanging over the club, this year the club will have a full squad in from the start that are all fit and raring to go.
Captain Danny Kirmond believes the Wildcats will be looking to secure a spot in the top eight before the division splits as part of the new league structure.
And with games in the opening weeks against Hull KR, Widnes and Salford, all of whom will also be looking for a spot in the Super 8s, a good start could prove vital for the Wildcats.
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“Over the last few years we’ve had massive turnarounds in players, and players coming in late. So to have everyone fit and in from the start is going to be massive for us,” Kirmond told League Express.
“That is going to be important for us at start of the season.
“Last year had some guys come in just before the first game and things were disrupted in the off-season. So we didn’t get much chance to do any game preparations or structural stuff and that really affected us at start of last year.
“But with everyone being in from start things will be different and we can hopefully get a good start, hit the ground running and get ourselves in a position where we are not having to worry too much about games at the back end of the season.
“Next year will be one of those years when anyone will be able to beat anyone.
“We came close to making the play-offs in 2014 even after a slow start. We have added some great players to the squad so we are confident we can make the eight this year.
“Craig Hall adds a lot to our back line and we will now have some real aggression coming into the pack, which we maybe lacked at times in the last couple of seasons.
“It’s certainly going to be an exciting season and I can’t wait to get it started.”
Kirmond has spent most of the last few months recovering from several different procedures to repair the injuries that saw him miss the final three games of last season.
Now, with his rehab complete, he can’t wait to get back down to business.
“Everything is just about back to normal now,” added the 28-year-old.
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“Two of my fingers have been bothering me for a couple of seasons now, I needed work done on one of them, but the other was just in a splint for a couple of weeks. I had a cleanout of my knee as well.
“It was good to get it all done early nice and early so I could be ready to start pre-season. I was back running on Thursday, so providing everything went well over the weekend I’ll be ready to start with the boys this week.
“I got married as well during the off-season, so things have been pretty hectic at times. But I’ve now had a couple of weeks off since the wedding and fully recharged the batteries.
“I am itching to get back in to it now. I have missed the lads and the atmosphere around the club and just cannot wait to play again.”