Hirst: Top eight is a minimum

Wakefield head coach Chris Chester led his side to an eighth-place finish this year but new arrival Keegan Hirst sees no reason why they can’t aim higher in 2017.

Hirst has moved to Trinity after two years at Championship side Batley.

“We have signed some quality players and kept a lot of the players,” he told Love Rugby League.

“If we’re adding to that then maybe we can hopefully go one or two better than last season.

“Wakey were ravaged by injuries at the end of last year so if we can manage to stay injury-free then I think we’ve got a good enough squad to be pushing a bit further up the table.”

Hirst is excited about his first season in Super League but admitted there is plenty of competition for places. Wakefield have also signed props Craig Huby and Mitch Allgood.

 “It’s a big challenge for me to get into the team for a start and then to play regularly and be performing well at that level,” he said.

“There are some quality forwards who are proven at Super League.

“David [Fifita] has played NRL so there’s a high calibre of prop there that I have got to get in front of.”

Since his arrival at Belle Vue the training at a full-time club has taken time to adjust to, according to Hirst.

“The intensity is a lot higher in training sessions at a Super League club,” he said.

“There are little techniques that you have time to practise, like contact and floor work.

“It’s getting up to speed with stuff like that you maybe don’t have time to go over at Championship level.”

Hirst admitted the group of lads already at Wakefield have really embraced him and made it a smooth transition.

The prop had only ever been part-time before joining Trinity

“The lads have made me feel very welcome,” he said.

“We have gelled really well and that has certainly helped my transition from part-time into the full-time environment.

“All the lads are approachable. There are no egos and it’s similar to Batley in that it’s mates doing their job together.”

Former Batley head coach John Kear also recently made the switch to the Wildcats, taking up a new role as the Director of Rugby which was music to Hirst’s ears.

“It’s a bit of continuity from Batley and he’s good to have about anywhere,” he said.

“He loves Wakefield and he will put his heart and soul into it.

“He wants Wakefield to perform and he’ll do whatever is in his power to help the team out.”

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