Kirmond determined to push on
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will look for immediate revenge against Leeds Rhinos tomorrow night and can do so with cult hero Danny Kirmond having signed a new contract with the club.
The Wildcats were shaded 20-18 by the Rhinos a week ago but get an instant chance to redeem that loss when the two square up again at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
Wakefield's five-match winning run was ended by that defeat but they will naturally feel more confident on home turf and, in the shape of Kirmond, boast arguably the competition's most in-form player.
The 27-year-old captain staved off any possible advances from other clubs by inking a new contract through to 2016 earlier this week, with the feel-good factor at Wakefield high as a result.
Kirmond's form has been scintillating in the middle part of the season and he is now looking to make sure he can lead his men into the play-offs.
"You can't settle for what you've done in the past. We made the play-offs last year but I feel like we've performed better this year," he said.
"We've worked hard to be where we are. Five or six games ago we were dead and buried for the play-offs, but we've worked hard and can now push on."
A former winger with Featherstone Rovers, Kirmond has developed into a try-scoring second-row forward since making a permanent switch to Wakefield from Huddersfield Giants two years ago.
He was never a regular starter in a Huddersfield side boasting numerous forward options and credits his move to Wakefield as the reason behind his consistent form.
"I've always been a bit-part player, in and out, so the captaincy here gave me a lot of confidence that everyone else had confidence in me and, while I may not be the best player, I work hard all the time and that's something I pride myself on," he added.
"Not to sound big-headed, but this is the best I've been playing. There's no coincidence with how much I'm enjoying myself and this has been the best period. I am playing in a really good team and am enjoying playing and working hard."
Part of Kirmond's appeal to Wakefield's fans is that he is a hometown player, and his ever-growing ginger beard has developed a following of its own.
Supporters have turned up to games in a mock-up of it, while competitions have been run to guess its length.
"It's really nice for them to do things like that, for me it's a privilege," Kirmond said.
Kirmond will start after surviving a knee injury, while Leeds welcome back their leader after a lengthy absence.
Kevin Sinfield has not played for six weeks after breaking his thumb on international duty and will slot straight back into coach Brian McDermott's side.
"He's been training with us for two weeks, we had him checked out and it's good to have him back," McDermott said.
"Win or lose, we've been performing well and our enthusiasm has been top notch. But we have probably missed his controlling influence as he is a big part of what we are.
"It's great to have him back, but it's his first game back after a number of weeks and he'll need the cobwebs blowing out. We'll afford him that.
"But Kev is mega-professional. He's not been in nightclubs swilling beer and smoking cigarettes so the only problem he'll have will be tiredness."