Wembley beckons for club and country
For four teams, the race for Wembley ends this weekend as the Tetley’s Challenge Cup reaches the Quarter-Final stage.
Championship side Sheffield Eagles open the round on Friday evening, when they welcome London Broncos to the Don Valley Stadium.
A big crowd is expected in South Yorkshire and many are predicting a shock victory for the 1998 Final winners.
Catalan Dragons entertain Hull FC the following day, before Super League front runners Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants lock horns on Sunday, and local rivals Wigan Warriors and Widnes Vikings square off on Monday.
But, through the dream will die for some, Rugby League fans in England could be given a second chance to roar their team on to victory this autumn, should England reach The Big Hit double header of Semi-Finals at Rugby League World Cup 2013.
The world’s four top Rugby League nations will clash at one of world sport’s greatest amphitheatres on November 23, where a place in the showpiece Final at Old Trafford on November 30 will be at stake.
Australia coach Tim Sheens says he is wary of the inspiration Steve McNamara’s men would be likely to draw from a partisan home support, should the two teams meet ‘under the arch’, but he says the Kangaroos would relish a return to Wembley.
And he hopes the side can attract some backing of their own at the tournament.
“I’m expecting us to have our own version of ‘the barmy army’ behind us. Lots will come over for sure, and I know there are plenty of tour opportunities for Australian fans,” said Sheens.
“I’m also not going to give up on the idea that the Welsh might want to cheer for us against England in that first game.
“But I think that whatever happens support-wise, you’ve still got to get out there and do the job, whether you’re booed or cheered on to the field.”
England last faced Australia at Wembley at the 2011 Four Nations, when late tries from Darius Boyd and Chris Lawrence helped secure a 36-20 victory for the men in Green and Gold.
“I thought we had good support when we played at Wembley a couple of years ago and I hope we can count on the Australian people living London again at RLWC2013.
“It was a great experience for the guys, and I’m sure there’ll be another great crowd at Wembley this autumn.
“When you get any kind of large crowd, it’s just a roar, and that really pumps up the players. It’s an atmosphere that anyone would enjoy playing in.
“I think there’ll be a good support for Australia, and for the game in general, and I hope we can build on the atmosphere we created at Wembley in 2011.”
Tickets for The Big Hit double header of semi-finals at Wembley Stadium on October 23 are on sale now, with adult tickets starting at just £20.
To make sure you will BE THERE buy now at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets or call the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.