SKIPPER Danny Kirmond reckons recent wins have eased the pressure on Wakefield Trinity.
Last Friday’s 32-16 victory over Wigan Warriors, when Kirmond made his 150th appearance for the club, was Trinity’s third in four Betfred Super League fixtures.
A run of seven defeats in eight games earlier in the campaign had dragged them towards the bottom-four, but they are now sixth and have a four-point advantage over ninth-placed Catalans Dragons.
Assessing the state of play after 17 rounds, Kirmond stressed: “The most important thing is to maintain that gap over the bottom-four and stay within touching distance of the top-four when the comp’ splits.
“If we can be there or thereabouts, the pressure is not completely off because you want to do as well as you can, but I think the pressure of being stuck in that bottom-four disappears.
“Then you can express yourselves a bit and I think you saw that last year. We went out of the Challenge Cup early last year so we had a lot of energy and a lot of fresh bodies and when the pressure was off at the back end we were a dangerous team.
If we can be there or thereabouts, the pressure is not completely off because you want to do as well as you can, but I think the pressure of being stuck in that bottom-four disappears.Danny Kirmond
“Hopefully it will be similar this year. We want to keep in touch and keep this run we are on now. Everyone’s really driven to do that and to take the next step, that’s right from the top, from Michael [Carter, Trinity’s chairman] to the bottom.
“You see the young kids who are going out on loan and really challenging. Max Jowitt has come in after not playing a lot of rugby over the last 18 months and done a really good job.
“I think that’s the important thing now, there’s a really good base under the 17 and everyone’s putting pressure on and making people play well for their spots.”
Trinity’s form has improved, but Kirmond insisted: “I don’t think we’ve ever been too far off track. The way we started [with four straight wins] , everyone was looking as us going on and taking that next step.
“That was never going to be an easy thing to do. The way the fixtures stacked up, we had a good run at the start and then a really tough run.
“We were disappointed with that run we had, but at the same time we always had confidence in ourselves that we’d get through that.
“To get wins against Widnes – who are throwing a lot into games at the minute – and then Wigan, who are in a similar position to ourselves, they’ve lost a couple and were probably feeling a bit of pressure, was really big for us.
“I thought we laid a really good platform in the first half last week. It was a really good pack performance and our halves really controlled the game.”
Kirmond added: “We’ve talked a lot this year about how we’ve completed. This is a game played between 26 really big guys and if one team has got more energy than the other it’s going to be really difficult to compete.
“We’ve not really completed and we’ve given away soft penalties in the last few weeks, but we kind of fixed that up [against Wigan].
“We completed at nearly 100 per cent for the first 35 minutes and you could see that in the way we played and the way we were able to defend as well.”