At the age of 29, it has taken Hirst time to reach the top flight after a long career spent in the part-time ranks of the Championship.
The former joiner enjoyed an outstanding campaign with his hometown club Batley last season where his performances earned him a move to the big time.
After an injury-disrupted pre-season, the 6ft 4ins prop forward failed to make the Trinity team in the opening five rounds of this season.
He was even sent to play for Dewsbury on dual-registration, but his maiden outing for Wakefield in Thursday’s visit over Leigh underlined his awesome physical prowess.
Hirst was summoned from the bench by head coach Chris Chester in the 44th minute, at which point the newly-promoted Centurions were 24-12 up.
During an impressive 20-minute stint, Hirst made numerous big carries to prompt a momentum shift which saw Wakefield level matters at 24-24.
Keegan Hirst is determined to establish himself at Wakefield
It got even better with 14 minutes remaining when winger Ben Jones-Bishop touched down for his 100th career try to seal a 28-24 victory.
It all amounted to a memorable night for Hirst, who said: “My nerves were hanging out when I didn’t get on in the first half and I felt a bit of pressure on myself. But as soon as you get out there and make that first carry, you’re alright and all that [trepidation] goes away.
“You’re into the game and concentrating on trying to keep your lungs in your chest!
“The lads have been really good because they knew I was feeling a bit of pressure as you don’t get many 29-year-olds making their Super League debut, so it was a bit of an odd one.
“Chezzy (Chester) told me on Sunday that I’d be getting the nod, so I had a few days to get my head round it and prepare.
“But I don’t really think it really hit home until I pulled up at the ground and saw all the hustle and bustle of what was going on. Then it starts to sink in.”
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Rugby's controversial moments
Fri, September 18, 2015
From 'Bloodgate' to suspensions here are Rugby's most controversial moments.
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Harlequins' Tom Williams faked blood pouring from his mouth with blood capsuls in a scandal now referred to as 'Bloodgate', 2009
With the Sky cameras present at Belle Vue, there was certainly no hiding place for Hirst. The Yorkshireman came out 18 months ago, an agonising decision after he hid his sexuality for years, ensuring an inner torment which drove him to the brink of suicide. Hirst married Sara at the age of 20 and they had two children before he came to terms with the fact he was gay.
Hirst’s debut saw him follow in the footsteps of cross-code star Gareth Thomas in becoming only the second openly gay man to appear in the Super League.
Having made his mark against Leigh, he will now look to cement a regular place in the Wakefield side.
Hirst added: “My minutes against Leigh weren’t too big and I’ve not played much because I’ve had to come back from injury.
Keegan Hirst impressed on his Wakefield debut against Leigh
“Hopefully, if I get the nod again, I can get more minutes under my belt each week and keep playing at that consistent level.
“If I can do that, hopefully I can keep my place in the seventeen. I’m just glad I’ve got my debut out the way and that it went well and we got the win.”
Trinity boss Chester said: “Keegan was very good. He carried the ball very strongly, came up with a couple of nice offloads and defended tough as well.
“It has been a big step up for Keegan, but he’s waited for his opportunity and I’m pleased for him.”