CAPTAIN DANNY Kirmond reckons Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are playing ‘smiles’ better.
Enjoying their rugby has been the key to Wildcats’ improvement under new coach Chris Chester, Kirmond believes.
Chester officially took charge in the week before Easter and has masterminded successive wins over Huddersfield Giants, Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils.
“I just think everyone’s happy,” Kirmond said of the change since Chester – who succeeded Brian Smith – came in.
“That’s not to say people weren’t happy before, but there’s definitely smiles on faces at training.
“The structure Chezzy [Chester] has brought suits our players and the style of players we have – and I think everyone’s bought into it.
“That’s a massive part of it. I think if you get a structure put to you, no matter what line of work you are in, if people don’t believe in that it’s not always going to be the best.
“But everyone seems to have taken it on board, what Chezzy’s brought in, and it seems to be working.”
Wildcats’ three wins in nine days over Easter equalled last year’s tally in the opening 23 rounds.
Kirmond said: “The majority of people wouldn’t have tipped us to get any wins over the Easter period.
“But we are confident in our ability and the league’s really topsy-turvy at the minute.
“Even though Chezzy has only been in a couple of weeks we’ve got confidence in the things he has put to us and we seem to have taken to them pretty quickly.
“So we were confident going into these three games and we’ve got good depth in the squad now, which obviously helps at Easter.
“We were confident, but three from three is probably a bit more than anyone can expect.”
Wildcats’ improved form will face its biggest test so far this season when the in-form Wigan Warriors visit Belle Vue on Sunday.
Kirmond added: “We are confident in ourselves, but we are keeping ourselves grounded and working really hard.
“Chezzy has been here a few weeks now and we are still learning the new structure and things he has brought in.
“It is an exciting time and we are looking forward to the next game.”
The form of Max Jowitt, an 18-year-old full-back, and winger Tom Johnstone, 20, has added to the excitement around Belle Vue.
“For a young guy playing in such a pivotal position, some of Max’s touches on Saturday [against Salford] were touches of someone who has played 150-200 Super League games,” Kirmond observed.
“The way he sent Tom in for the last try, he is just smart with the ball. You don’t see that in a lot of young kids.
“You get a lot of good young athletes, but it’s the brain that Max is doing well with at the minute.”
Kirmond added: “Tom is such a good athlete and he works really hard. The things he’s done for us in the last three games are phenomenal – the try he scored in the first game, the tackles last week and his hat-trick on Saturday. It’s great to see these young guys coming through the academy system and thriving on the field.”