COACH CHRIS Chester has paid tribute to Wakefield Trinity’s loyal servant Danny Kirmond on the eve of his testimonial game.
Trinity will play host to Hull tomorrow in a benefit for Kirmond and Danny Washbrook, the black and whites’ forward who played for Wakefield from 2012-2015.
“He has been brilliant since day one that I came here,” Chester said of former Featherstone Rovers winger Kirmond who has made 142 Super League appearances for Trinity.
“He has had opportunities to go elsewhere for more money, but Danny is a Wakefield lad – a passionate Wakefield lad and supporter and deserves everything he gets from this testimonial year.”
Kirmond, 33, had a spell on loan with Trinity in 2010 and signed from Huddersfield Giants two years later.
He was made skipper at the start of his time with Wakefield, but the role has switched to Jacob Miller for 2019 with Kirmond remaining as club captain.
Chester insisted the second-rower, who is out of contract at the end of the year, remains at the heart of his plans.
“100 per cent, that’s why he has still got the number 12 jersey,” Chester said.
“He has got some competition for that right back-row spot and he knows, like everybody, if they don’t perform they are going to be sat on the sidelines with me, but Danny has got a big chance of playing in round one.
“He will start this weekend against Hull and I am looking forward to seeing him.
“I think he just needs an injury-free season.
“He has had it tough for the last couple of years with some bad knee injuries and shoulders.
“I just want him to enjoy it, hence the reason we’ve moved the captaincy away from Kirmo.”
Tom Johnstone, Keegan Hirst, Craig Huby, Jordan Crowther, Jordan Baldwinson, Anthony England and new signing Ben Reynolds will all feature tomorrow after not playing in Trinity’s 10-4 loss at Leeds Rhinos on Boxing Day.
Ryan Hampshire has a finger injury and drops out, along with Lee Kershaw and Kyle Wood.
“It’s a strong squad,” Chester said.
“I’ve spoken to Radders [Hull boss Lee Radford] about going as strong as we possibly can for the first 40 minutes.
“Anybody that’s fit, barring the young kids, will play and it should be a good exercise for both teams.”
Chester added: “I was pleased with Boxing Day, we did a lot of good things. We were scrappy with the ball, but defensively we were pretty strong. We did a lot of work defensively and that was the main part we wanted to get out of that game.
“We’ve worked hard over the last couple of weeks and we’ll work hard over the next couple on the offensive side of the game.”
Trinity’s Betfred Super League campaign begins away to newly-promoted London Broncos in 22 days’ time. Asked if his squad are where he wants them to be at this stage of pre-season, Chester said: “I think so.
“We are still not clicking with the ball, but we’ve used the last two weeks to try and improve that. We have got pretty much a new spine with Broughy [Danny Brough] being in there and also Rocky [Hampshire] at full-back.”
The new shot clock will be in use tomorrow.
Wakefield Trinity: from Annakin, Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, Baldwinson, Batchelor, Brough, Crowther, England, Fifita, Hirst, Horo, Huby, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, King, Kirmond, Kopczak, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Reynolds, Tupou.
Hull: from Brown, Connor, Cox, Dawson-Jones, Faraimo, Fash, Hadley, Harris, Houghton, Kelly, Lane, Langtree, Litten, Logan, Matongo, Miloudi, Naulago, Nzoungou, Paea, Patterson-Lund, Scott, Shaul, Taylor, Thompson, Washbrook, Wynne.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 2pm.