The first team squad are now in full swing of pre season training after having a month off following the Million Pound fixture against Bradford Bulls at the beginning of October.
A handful of the squad returned last week to undergo a few extra fitness sessions with the coaching staff before the remainder of the squad joined them this week ahead of the 2016 campaign, which starts in February at Belle Vue Stadium against Widnes Vikings. Captain Danny Kirmond was amongst the individuals who returned on Monday and has spoken about his delight to get back into a routine and getting to know the newest additions to the squad.
He said, “The off-season has been really good, it was nice to be able to unwind after a really emotional end to last season, obviously it was really high charged and a lot was at stake. So it was good to finally be able to secure Super League status as a club and enjoy a bit of time with the boys and enjoy some family time and unwind.
“It feels like we have been away for a while now so I am happy to get back into things. It’s always nice to get some time away and unwind and put your head in a different space. A few of the lads have said it doesn’t feel like two minutes since we were altogether at the end of last season, but we enjoy what we do and it is good to get back.”
New signings Anthony Tupou and Tirinau Arona landed in the UK last Friday afternoon ahead of taking part in their first promo at the club along with the other eight signings Chairman, Michael Carter and Head Coach, Brian Smith have added to the squad. They joined Kirmond at the shirt launch in the Ridings Centre on Saturday afternoon before meeting the rest of their teammates in training on Monday.
“There are a lot of new faces around; everyone seems to have fit in really well.” Kirmond continued. “You walk into the training ground and all the players seem really excited, we are all coming here to do the same job and that is to work hard together and to try and better ourselves this pre season.
“I think we have got a great deal of strength across the board, the squad is in a much better place than last season. There’s also a lot more depth to each position now, so it puts pressure on everyone to perform at their best, not just in games but also in pre season as well. Hopefully we will soon see the benefits in that.
“I do believe we will still be classed as underdogs with how things went last year, clubs always seem to look down on us a bit. We have strengthened a great deal with the players we have brought in, the likes of Anthony Tupou and Arona have all been chased by other clubs, they have had offers to stay in Australia, so the fact that Brian has managed to secure them and they have chosen to come to Wakefield says a lot of the club and a lot for the whereabouts the club are going.”
The 30-year old is pleased to have retained the number 12 shirt but has stated that it is not something to get too excited about or read into too much. “Everyone says squad numbers don’t mean too much and don’t read into them but it is a number I have had for a couple of years at Wakefield and it is one that I am definitely happy with.”
Kirmond has also expressed his delight for 20-year old Tom Johnstone who has been handed squad number two after breaking into the first team from the Academy at the start of last season.
“Tom had a lot of ups and downs last year; he had some really good performances but maybe lacked a little inconsistency in those early games. He’s a young kid and has not played rugby for a long time. When Brian came in, he set Tom a lot of challenges and I think he thrived under the tutoring, for him to be given the number two jersey is really good, he now needs to knuckle down in training and he will retain that spot in the starting line up.”
To see Danny Kirmond and the new signings in action, pick up your membership from the shop in the Ridings Centre or online. Prices will increase by £10 on the 1st December, so don't delay and get yours today. A reminder that juniors aged 16 and under can watch all our 2016 home Super League fixtures for free!!