Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are anxiously awaiting news on the extent of a finger injury suffered by in-form captain Danny Kirmond during Monday night’s 27-26 victory at Hull FC.
Kirmond played through the pain barrier in Wildcats’ crucial victory at the KC Stadium but early fears in the Wakefield camp suggested the second-row may have snapped his tendons.
It could mean a spell on the sidelines during Wakefield’s crucial Super League run-in for the Wildcats skipper but head coach Richard Agar is keeping everything crossed that any operation can be put off until the end of the campaign.
“He’s got a damaged finger and that could be a blow for us,” said Agar.
“It looks like he’s snapped the tendons in it. He’ll see a specialist this week to see if it’s something we can patch up and get him through to the end of the year or whether it’ll need operating on immediately, which will be a big blow for us if that’s the case.”
Kirmond has been in arguably the form of his career this season, with some calling for his inclusion in the England squad, and any absence will represent a blow to Wakefield’s top-eight hopes.
There were plenty of other stand-out performances for Wakefield against Hull, however, and Agar praised his side’s work ethic, saying they need to replicate that until the end of the season in search of the play-offs.
“I thought we had the best of the play and certainly in the second half we didn’t commit as many errors which was obviously a feature of the game,” he said.
“I wouldn’t underestimate the work they’ve had done to the pitch. The grass was pretty threadbare, long, and they watered the pitch for probably an hour before so I did think that had an impact on people’s skill. It’s not an excuse because certainly the levels for both sides probably were not up to where they were and it made for a bit of a scrappy game.
“One thing I can’t fault is my players’ effort and commitment. We said at half-time to the players - ten out of ten for effort and probably three out of ten for execution in what we were trying to do.
“We probably lifted that a bit in the second half in what we did coming out of our own end, we slightly adapted and we found some areas we needed to get to for some quick play-the-balls and some wins, but still our play in the final third and the way we kicked the ball - I thought Hull kicked the ball a lot better than us.
“But it was a great kick that came up with the try that put us in front and a kick that won it for us in the end so we got a couple of kicks that really counted.”
The Wildcats boss reserved special praise for centre Lee Smith, who kicked the winning drop goal less than two minutes from time.
“He took his try exceptionally well, he’s been kicking goals very, very well for us for a long time now,” he commented.
“He probably missed one of the easiest ones he’s missed for a long time but then came up with a magnificent one from the touchline to put us in front and there was only ever going to be one person who wanted his hands on the ball at that late stage.
“We know Paul Sykes can slot the drop goals over pretty well but Smithy’s confidence is running through him at the moment and he came up with some really outstanding runs for us tonight on attack.”
The availability of Kirmond is one worry for Agar but another is that of prop Justin Poore, who was put on report following a ‘tipping’ challenge in the second half.
Agar had no qualms about the decision to award a penalty against the Australian but questioned whether his reputation is going before him in matches.
“He [Poore] give one away for lying on early doors. Whether he’s been a marked man or not, I saw three in the next set that Hull had the ball that didn’t get penalised so I don’t know if they’ve [referees] got a bee in their bonnet about him,” he said.
“I think tipping is one of the easiest fouls in the game to referee and penalise because as soon as he goes over the horizontal it’s a penalty and rightly so, it’s something we don’t want to see in the game. He sailed really close to the wind on that and he’s on report and we’ll have to look at it on the tape.”