Hill revels in rapid rise
Chris Hill is likely to be one of the first names on Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith's team sheet for Saturday's Carnegie Challenge Cup final, but still has to pinch himself to make sure it is happening.
The 24-year-old prop forward, snapped up a year ago from Leigh Centurions, has emerged as arguably Stobart Super League's signing of the season after making the step up from the part-time Championship with aplomb.
Hill sat out the first two games but has appeared in all but one since and has regularly kept experienced front rowers Adrian Morley and Garreth Carvell out of the starting line-up.
"You have to pinch yourself, coming to a big club like this," Hill said.
"I said at the beginning of the year I wanted to play every week but it wasn't reality then because I was coming into a really good squad with internationals all over the place.
"I just wanted to learn this first year off people like Moz (Morley) and Gaz (Carvell) and I have.
"I got my chance and took it. If I had only played half the games, I would have been delighted but I've played 20-odd now and I'm really made up.
"I've just extended my deal by another three years so these are really good times for me at the minute. I'm just glad to be a part of this club."
Hill produced an outstanding display in the Wolves' semi-final win over Huddersfield Giants but his previous biggest game was for the Centurions in last season's Northern Rail Cup final, the Championship clubs' big day out in Blackpool which will be a far cry from Wembley.
"It's a little bit surreal to think that I played in the Northern Rail Cup final last year and could play at Wembley this year," he said.
"It's the competition you always looked at and dreamed of playing in as a child.
"I've never been to Wembley yet as a player or a fan so to be able to go there for the first time and play in a Challenge Cup final would just be an unbelievable experience.
"I usually go away at this time of the year - my mum and dad have a caravan in Anglesey - but I'll swap that any day for a trip to Wembley.
"Hopefully I'll be in the 17 but nothing is guaranteed, especially with the squad we've got and we're all fit at the minute.
"Tony is really good at swapping and changing and giving people rests. I don't think anyone likes having rests but it's part of team sport.
"Everyone has to do it throughout the year. I've had a rest and it refreshed me."