Kirmond's a man with a plan
Danny Kirmond feels bad about taking the place of one of Huddersfield Giants' regulars but he is determined to help them reach a first Grand Final to help make up for the heartbreak of missing out on Wembley.
The 24-year-old back row forward spent most of this season on loan at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, where he went as part of the deal that took half-back Danny Brough to the Galpharm Stadium, but was recalled by Giants coach Nathan Brown a month ago and scored a try in his first start in last Saturday’s thrilling 34-22 play-off win at Warrington Wolves.
Kirmond keeps his place for the Giants’ semi-final against St Helens on Friday, knowing that victory at Knowsley Road would complete a remarkable change of personal fortune.
The former Featherstone winger enjoyed just three victories in his 17 appearances for the Wildcats and, after returning to a side on the crest of a wave after finishing the regular season with five straight wins, was not expecting to get back in the team.
“It was hard at Wakefield,” he said. “We were losing quite a lot of games and I was grateful to Nathan for calling me back and giving me a chance.
“Part of the deal was that, if Wakefield didn’t make the play-offs and Huddersfield did, I would come back but, to be honest, I didn’t see myself playing.
“Obviously the boys who have played all year had a head start on me. I think I’ve played alright but I’ve been lucky.
“There’s good players missing out and I feel a bit bad about that but I’m really looking forward to playing on Friday and hopefully keeping my spot if we get to the Grand Final.”
Kirmond, who put on about 10 kilos of weight since he went full-time with Huddersfield to enable him to play in the pack, got back in Brown’s team ahead of Scott Grix, Andy Raleigh, Simon Finnigan, Graeme Horne and Brad Drew.
But they would not begrudge a trip to Old Trafford for their team-mate after he suffered the agony of sitting out last year’s Challenge Cup final against Warrington.
“From a personal point of view, this game is massive,” he admitted.
“I played in the Cup semi-final against St Helens last year but missed out on Wembley because I did my knee the week before.
“It would be big at any point in my career but after last year it would be especially nice to get that opportunity.”
Kirmond missed the start of the season because he was still recovering from knee surgery and can make history by reaching the Grand Final without playing in a single League match for his team.
It is 32 years since Huddersfield last won a match at Knowsley Road and 48 years since they were last crowned champions but Kirmond feels destiny is on his side if history is not.
“We’re confident in our ability,” he said.
“We know Saints are a very good team and they’re dangerous right across the park but so are we.”