Danny Kirmond backs Wakefield Trinity Wildcats to stay in Super League

Published: Friday 2nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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Wakefield captain Danny Kirmond is confident his club can avoid a catastrophe as they prepare for one of the biggest matches in their history.

The Wildcats’ 17-year stay in Super League once more goes on the line when they take on Bradford in the inaugural £1million Match at Belle Vue on Saturday afternoon.

The one-off sudden-death clash – to determine the 12th and final place in Super League for 2016 – was introduced as part of the new Super 8s format in an effort to keep interest going to the end of the season and the event has even managed to upstage this weekend’s semi-finals.

Wakefield have been here before, winning a similar winner-takes-all battle with Castleford in 2006 when John Kear masterminded their great escape, and surviving unexpectedly in 2011 when Crusaders suddenly pulled out of Super League.

Kirmond acknowledges there is much more at stake than the £1m difference in central funding between Super League clubs and the top-ranked Championship outfit.

“It’s just ginormous, there’s nothing bigger, to keep the club in Super League and keep it full-time, especially with the way the club is buzzing behind the scenes,” Kirmond said.

“I think if the club dropped down, it would be catastrophic really. We’ve got things in place next year that are going to push the club forward again and it’s important we stay in Super League to keep that momentum.”

The 29-year-old Kirmond, a second rower who previously played for Featherstone and Huddersfield, is in his fourth season with Wakefield and rejected several chances to move elsewhere as the club lurched from one crisis to the next before the current owners took over.

“I will admit it was quite stressful when the club went into administration but I’m quite old-fashioned, I’ve been brought up to believe in loyalty,” he said.

“The club gave me a chance when no one else really wanted me. For me it was easy to stay. I just love playing rugby. Ten years ago I was working in a warehouse and playing part-time at Featherstone. This is the biggest match for me by a mile.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the camp. People ask if you’re nervous but these are the games you want to play in, it’s got the feeling of a final. Everyone is talking about it.”

Kirmond was not expected to play again after sustaining a serious shoulder injury three months ago but he was always determined to get back for this match and made his comeback at Sheffield last Sunday.

“The surgeon said I was probably better looking at next year but I just wanted to get back out on the field and help the boys,” he said.

“It would have been awful to watch it, I would much rather be playing.”

Saturday’s match pits the master against the apprentice with Wakefield’s Australian coach Brian Smith, 61, going up against the Bulls’ James Lowes, 45, who was signed by Smith during his time in charge at Odsal in 1996.

“Of all the players we brought in at that time, I don’t think there’s been anyone more effective than Jimmy,” Smith said.

“He did a magnificent job for us. It was a pleasure to be his coach just for the short time we were together and his effect on that club went on and on for the best part of a decade.

“He was a great competitor as a player and he’s a super competitor as a coach.”

Published: Friday 2nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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