DANNY Kirmond admits that it was an easy decision to return to Wakefield Trinity in a coaching capacity following his retirement at the end of the season.

The York Knights second-rower hung up his boots following the conclusion of the 2023 campaign, bringing down the curtain on an 18-year career in the sport.

Kirmond, 38, spent his final year in the city in a dual player/coach role but enjoyed an impressive return of five tries in 21 appearances – including a first-half double in the Knights’ outstanding 24-22 victory over Sheffield Eagles in the Fourth Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup in April.

But now he has put pen to paper at his hometown club - for whom he made over 150 appearances across a 10-year period - where he will take on a full-time assistant coach role to former Warrington Wolves boss Daryl Powell in a new era at Belle Vue.

“It’s great to be back!” he enthused to the club.

“There’s lots of smiles on people’s faces and a great energy around the place. 

“I just feel really privileged to have the opportunity to come back.”

Trinity are preparing for their first season back in the Betfred Championship in almost a quarter of a century, with the transitional nature an attractive part of Kirmond’s new role.

Asked how his move back to West Yorkshire came about, the forward joked: “It was more how long it took them to come back to me!

“It was an easy decision for me. 

“Going part time and having a step away from the full-time environment made me realise just how much I love the game and that I want to be a part of that.”

“I think that the transition of the club is something that I’ve been involved in before, when I came in originally with Rich Agar and the big turnover that we had then, it’s something that’s really excited me from the off.

“The opportunity of speaking to Matt [Ellis, owner] and Daryl of their vision, it really matched what I want.

“And the opportunity to learn from Shenny [Michael Shenton, assistant coach] as well and the rest of the coaching team and the staff here is something that I’m really looking forward to.”

York Press: Kirmond will work alongside former Warrington Wolves boss Daryl Powell, who was appointed to the top job in October.Kirmond will work alongside former Warrington Wolves boss Daryl Powell, who was appointed to the top job in October. (Image: Martin Rickett/PA)

Knights head coach Andrew Henderson admitted that Kirmond’s dual role at the club last term had instead ended up as ‘90 per cent playing and 10 per cent coaching’ due to their unprecedented injury crisis.

“When I first took the job on this year, part of the discussion was that Danny was going to be supporting me in the coaching team,” he explained.

“At that stage I didn’t have Ged Corcoran, so when I first came in, we had Will Leatt who was part of James Ford’s backroom staff at the club, so he still remained in post. 

“There was myself and Will, so it was discussed with Danny to help him with that transition of what was coming next, he seemed to show an interest and wanted to coach. 

“It was more of a player /coach role, and he was originally meant to be mainly coaching for that transition, but as it transpired he became more 90 per cent playing, 10 per cent coaching because we needed him to play. 

“It didn’t really go the way it was originally envisaged, the fact I was able to secure Ged Corcoran’s services really allowed me to push Danny down the playing route, which was needed.”

A role had been open for Kirmond to remain with Knights in 2024, either as a player or a member of the club’s coaching staff, but Henderson respected his decision to move on.

“The discussions were there that he would join the coaching team in 2024, should he decide to retire, as I never wanted to retire him and it would only ever be on his terms,” he revealed. 

“He was going to stay on as a player for us next season if he wanted to stay on, but that was performance-based and I told him that, but there would be coaching discussions on a role if that’s what he wanted. 

“But he was approached by Wakefield towards the back end of the year and it was a full-time coaching role. It was a better family lifestyle than what we could have given him, so he made that decision. 

“We’ve got that honesty and respect, he made it clear to me that it was the direction he was going to go, so I said no problem. 

“We went into the market to try and find a replacement so to speak, and we’re very fortunate to have secured the services of Paul Cooke.”