FRUSTRATED captain Danny Kirmond says it is time Wakefield Trinity Wildcats started gaining the respect their upsurge in form truly warrants.
The influential second-row leads them into action against Super League’s joint-leaders Catalans Dragons at Magic Weekend tomorrow on the back of a stunning run.
Wakefield, who finished bottom in 2015, have won eight of their last nine games since Chris Chester took over following Brian Smith’s unexpected resignation as head coach.
Along the way, they have utterly vanquished Wigan Warriors 62-0 and, similarly impressively, defeated leaders 36-28 Warrington Wolves at Belle Vue last Sunday.
But Kirmond argued: “Everyone seems to say it’s all about the opponents when we pick up these wins.
“Catalans is the next step for us now with the journey we’re on (but) we don’t get the plaudits we deserve for our victories.
“It’s Wigan or Warrington slipping up, not us winning on merit.
“Maybe if we keep going we can start to get the gratification we deserve.”
There is no sign of Trinity’s progress slowing, however.
Catalans will be another stern test given the way the French side have eradicated their travel problems this term and turned into genuine title contenders.
But Kirmond, who signed a new two-year deal on Friday that emphasised his own belief in the West Yorkshire club’s future, added: “We’re confident at the moment.
“It’s been building slowly and although we had a scratchy performance against Toulouse in the cup, it was a kick up the backside for us and reminded us how hard we have to work.
“That showed in the performance against Warrington; we started well and didn’t really give them a sniff.
“We’re priding ourselves on not being out-enthused at home and I think we showed that at the weekend.”
They are subsequently up to sixth, five points above Hull KR in ninth and only four adrift of St Helens in fourth.
Understandably, there is now talk of Wakefield making the top eight for the first time since 2012.
“It’d be a massive achievement,” said the forward, who joined from Huddersfield Giants in that same year after an initial loan spell in 2010.
“The club always talks about improving year-on-year and it wouldn’t have taken much to do that this year.
“But that wasn’t good enough for us.
“There are going to be limitations but with the squad we assembled at the start of the year, I didn’t think we were doing ourselves justice.
“Things have improved so much under Chris.
“It’s still going to be tough, we know there’s a long way to go.
“The teams underneath us will be pushing hard because some of them wouldn’t have envisaged being there.
“We’re looking up though, not over our shoulder; we don’t want to scrape into the top eight – we want to feel like we’ve deserved to be there.”
On his decision to extend his stay at Belle Vue until the end of 2018, part of it is down to the impact of Chester, the young coach who was sacked at Hull KR earlier this season but has been so refreshing for Trinity since.
“You play rugby because you enjoy it and if you start to view it as a job you struggle,” explained Kirmond, who turned down the chance to leave Trinity during their financial problems three years ago.
“Coming in here these days, it’s been a breeze and every day has continued to improve since Chris came into the club.”
Featherstone-born Kirmond, who led Trinity to victory in last season’s Million Pound Game against Bradford Bulls to escape relegation, has scored three tries in 10 matches so far.
“My game has changed a lot lately,” he said. “You have to work harder as you get older; it doesn’t come as easy, and things take a toll on you a bit easier.
“I feel fresh though. I’ve had a few injury problems but that can work in your favour, as it gives your body a rest. I feel good, I feel fit and I can offer plenty to this team.”