Danny Kirmond says he and the Wildcats squad are ready for the real business of the Stobart Super League XVII season starting tonight against Widnes Vikings (kick-off: 8pm).
After three months of pre-season training, 18 new players joining the ranks and a new coaching setup, the wait is almost over for the start of one of the most eagerly aniticpated campaigns in many years.
A bumper away following are set to hit the road tonight to support the Wildcats and Kirmond says the squad can’t wait to get started.
“This is what you build up for,” said Kirmond after Thursday’s final training session.
“The last three months of hard work is for the start of the real business that we enjoy doing the most.
“We had a tough pre-season and it has been pretty much a new team, but we’ve come together really well and we’re looking forward to getting out for the first real game.
“The first couple of weeks were a bit weird and a bit like the first days at school. But going to Wales really helped us and then a week in France together helped as well in bringing us together as a team.
“I think our performances in the trial game have shown that we’re building and hopefully we can keep building throughout the season and just get better and better.”
Just like the Wildcats, Widnes begin the season with a raft of new players as they embark on a return to the top flight under the spotlight of the Sky cameras.
Kirmond believes the Wildcats need to focus on setting down their own marker to build on for the season.
“They’re in a pretty similar position to ourselves in that they’ve got a lot of new players in. They’ve got a lot of talented players and some players with something to prove, as with ourselves.
“It’s going to be a bit unknown really because you can’t take too much from trial games. It’s just about us going out there and performing to the best we can and not really thinking about them too much.
“It’s a great opportunity to put a marker down, as much for ourselves really because we want to put in a performance to start the season off and to build on for what we’re aiming to do this year.
“It’s great news to hear the support we’ve got going over there, particularly with it being on Sky it would be easy for people to stay at home but they’re coming out in their numbers which is a really good sign for the club.”
Whilst much has been made of the new i-Pitch at the Stobart Stadium, the 26-year old says the team are ready having trained on similar surfaces during pre-season.
“We train on different surfaces and use the Crofton 3G quite a bit,” explained Kirmond.
“It’s going to be a dry track and I think it’ll be good for us as we’ve got some good ball handlers in the team and some good flair players.
“It’s better than running on a snowy, muddy pitch and that’s pretty much how I look at it.
“It’s better then getting covered to mud in your eyeballs like you were playing in the 80’s. It’s just going to be playing like in summer,” he joked.
It will be a first competitive game for Kirmond since being named as vice-captain in what is his second spell at the club after a stint on-loan from neighbours Huddersfield Giants in 2010, and he feels priviliged to be given the role.
“It’s an honour really to be named as vice-captain by Rich.
“It’s not something I’ve done before but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
“For the players to welcome me and back me up with this vice captaincy role means a lot to me and I’m just looking forward to getting out on the pitch and proving it’s the right decision to have me there.”
Tickets for the game will be on sale on the gate at the Stobart Stadium priced at £22 for adults, £15 for concessions and £13 for juniors.
Junior Gold Members will be able to get their free junior ticket by presenting their Gold Membership on the gate this evening.
Anyone unable to make the game can see all the action in the HD Sports Bar on Westgate, or in CATS Bar at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
Kyle Trout has been replaced in the 19-man squad by Motu Tony after he failed to shrug off a shoulder injury sustained against Batley last weekend.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.