The turbulent events of this week have left Wakefield Trinity Wildcats captain Danny Kirmond admitting he questioned his own input to the crisis club’s cause.
The second-row is “devastated” head coach James Webster was so personally disillusioned by the squad’s inept displays that he chose to walk away from the job.
With woeful Wakefield marooned at the bottom of the table after 11 straight Super League losses and Sunday’s Challenge Cup exit at home to Championship Leigh Centurions, there has been honest self-analysis aplenty.
Assistant coach Stuart Dickens takes charge for tomorrow’s visit from Widnes Vikings, but Kirmond insists under-performing players still owe their erstwhile boss a performance of note.
“James is a really great bloke and, not even as a player, just person to person, to see someone of James’s calibre get dragged down and to the point where he feels he can’t do anything for the squad any more, that’s the most disappointing thing for me,” he said.
“To see him upset and feel like he has to leave his position ultimately because of what we have done out there is something that’s made me take a step back and think, ‘why has it got to this?’
“Individually we could all have done more and we might not be in this situation.
“If you look on paper, this squad is probably the most talented we’ve had at the club for four or five years so for us to be sitting bottom of the league and not have a win in 10 weeks is our fault.
“At the end of the day the game is about results and once we go over that white line no coach can help you much out there.
“Deep down everyone will know they’ve played a little part in this. But it’s sport. These things happen and it’s important now we get a reaction not only for the people still here but for James.
“I know people will say that doesn’t make sense but Webbo still likes all the guys here and wants the club to do well so it’s important to do that.”
Irate Wakefield chairman Michael Carter has this week questioned some players’ commitment and it remains to be seen if Trinity will end their dire run of form – no league win since February – tomorrow.
Kirmond insisted: “I do think they will (respond). We’ve had a very honest week. Everyone’s looked at themselves. I’ve spoken to a lot of players and the reaction – though it comes from something that shouldn’t have happened – has been very positive.
“Everyone wants to put things right. You should see that Sunday.”
He says Dickens, the former Featherstone Rovers prop who Kirmond started his career alongside as a teenager at Post Office Road, has lifted spirits.
“Stu’s brought a lot of enthusiasm to training over the last couple of days and done a real good job of picking the boys up after that disappointing news,” Kirmond said.
“He’s explained to everyone there’s a fresh slate now and everyone’s got a chance of playing but you’ve got to be at your best to be in his team.”
Dickens is unsure yet as to whether he will apply for the main job. He only joined Trinity as Under-19s coach at the end of 2012 after retiring following more than 400 appearances for Featherstone.
Former Wakefield coach John Kear, the current Batley Bulldogs chief who saved Wildcats from relegation in 2006, and ex-captain Glenn Morrison, the Australian now in charge at Dewsbury Rams, have been linked with the role.
Asked if he would like Dickens to be promoted, Kirmond, 29, said: “Definitely. I played with him for a few years and he’s captained me before.
“Stu has a great knowledge of the sport, played a lot of games, coached the juniors here and had a year with Webbo and (previous head coach) Rich (Agar) as assistant.
“He’s got the knowledge. It’s just whether he wants to do the job. But I‘d definitely be happy with him.”
Against Widnes tomorrow, Wakefield are without on-loan prop Ben Kavanagh, who cannot play against his parent club, Frenchman Mickael Simon, who is suspended, and Ali Lauitiiti and Lopini Paea.
Second rower Matty Ryan returns after completing a one-match ban and caretaker coach Dickens brings in Reece Lyne, Pita Godinet, Chris Annakin and Jordan Crowther.