LONG-SERVING WAKEFIELD Trinity captain Danny Kirmond has given his full backing to successor Jacob Miller.
Kirmond was appointed skipper in 2012, but played only 12 games last year before his campaign was ended by a knee injury suffered in June.
And he insisted it was the right decision to hand the armband on as he enters the final year of his contract.
“I won’t say it is a weight off my back because that doesn’t do justice to how much the captaincy meant to me,” said the 33-year-old forward.
“But the last couple of years has been really hard for me, not playing.
“It has been really weighing on my shoulders, being captain and not being able to play has been really frustrating.
“I am not going to lie, it has got me down at times and I have struggled with it, not just being injured, but also my role within the club.
“It has been really hard. I said to Chezzy [coach Chris Chester] at the start of last season I am not sure if it’s really right for me, but we weren’t sure if anybody was ready to do it at the time.
“Milky did a lot of it last year anyway and he has stepped into it.”
Kirmond insisted: “The other thing is, I have been really privileged to do it for a long time.
“Not many people get to captain their hometown team. It is something I have been tremendously proud of.
“I am really good friends with Milky and I am happy he is able to do it now as well.”
Miller led Trinity for the first time as permanent captain in last week’s opening pre-season game at Leeds Rhinos. Kirmond proved his fitness with a solid stint, but had “mixed feelings” about the game.
Trinity were 4-0 ahead at the break, but Leeds scored two tries in the final 18 minutes to snatch a 10-4 victory.
“Obviously you want to win,” Kirmond said. “But I think there’s a bigger picture at this time of year.
“We had a really good hit out and I think people got some really good minutes in.
“There was an intensity to the game as well which isn’t always the case at this time of year.
“I think it was a good test and a marker of where we are at the minute.”
Trinity will look to be better with ball in hand when they play host to Hull in a trial game on January 13, but Kirmond believes their defensive effort last week laid a platform for a strong season.
He recalled: “It was a good effort to only concede two tries, one from a kick and then a really good bit of skill which broke us down on the other one.
“I think defensively we were really good.
“They were as well and took a bit of breaking down.
“At this time of year you are always going to be a bit scratchy with the ball, it is all about testing yourself against good teams at the end of the day.
“It is hard to replicate that game feeling and both teams will benefit from it.”
Kirmond added: “The good thing is that all of our middle men got some really good minutes in.
“Kopy [Craig Kopczak] did the first 40, George King similar and T Arona, as he always does, bashed out a lot of minutes.
“It’s good to do that in the first game.
“You can train all you want, but it’s hard to get the same feeling you do in a game.”