Saturday 23rd August 2014  Wembley Stadium  Kick Off: 15:00:00

Castleford Tigers Squad

Leeds Rhinos Squad

Match Preview


McDermott wants win for players

Leeds coach Brian McDermott will be aiming to help lift the weight of history from the shoulders of his ageing stars when he leads them out at Wembley on Saturday.

McDermott is a former Challenge Cup winner with Bradford but his old Bulls team-mate Jamie Peacock is the only member of the Rhinos team to have experienced the joy of winning rugby league's famous knockout trophy, and that was away from Wembley.

Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Ryan Bailey and Jamie Jones-Buchanan have formed the nucleus of the Leeds team that won Super League's Grand Final at Old Trafford a record six times as well as the World Club Challenge three times in the last decade, but they are still waiting to put the final piece in the jigsaw.

Leeds are appearing in their 24th cup final - only Wigan with 30 have more final appearances - and are looking to win it for the 12th time but a seventh defeat in the last 14 years would set a new record of 13.

Most of the neutrals at Wembley are sure to be supporting underdogs Castleford but few would begrudge Sinfield and company reaching their Holy Grail.

"That's my job," McDermott said. "And if I can deliver it, it would mean a fair bit to me.

"I've listened to them all talk about it. I don't think they go searching the streets for answers or looking in the stars because they've all by their own right been very successful in everything except the Challenge Cup.

"It's the missing piece in the jigsaw and I know it means a lot to them. If I can deliver that, I'd be over the moon. I'd be over the moon for myself as well."

Opposite number Daryl Powell admits the success of his double-chasing team has taken him by surprise this year but sees no reason why they should fall short in their quest for silverware.

The Tigers have never been crowned champions but they have been in the top four of Super League all season and against Leeds will bid to complete the first half of their double bid by lifting the Challenge Cup for the first time for 28 years.

The Rhinos are favourites but Powell, who was in the last Leeds team to win the cup in 1999, insists his side can revel in the role of underdogs.

"We're a bit further down the track than I thought we would have been," said Powell, who succeeded Australian Ian Millward 18 months ago with Castleford third from bottom of the table.

"We're in a pretty good position in the league. We've been outstanding so far and we're talking about taking the next step here which is wining a major competition. I think we've got what we need.

"It's going to be tough but, when we've played big games this year, we've played exceptionally well.

"And when you're not expected to win, you can pretty much relax and that's the way we've been.

"We've challenged Leeds twice and not been too far away. In fact we've not been too far away against most teams this year."