'Togetherness' is key for close-knit Cas
By Kirsty Saynor
Weller Hauraki believes that the closeness coach Daryl Powell has instilled into the Castleford Tigers squad is what could help his side to win the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at Wembley on Saturday August 23 (3.00pm).
The second row, who joined the Tigers from Leeds Rhinos last season, knows just how important an opportunity the final represents, as Castleford look for their first Challenge Cup win since 1986.
“This team has bonded massively this season and this sense of togetherness is what has made us so strong,” said Hauraki. “We are playing for each other and there is a sense of family both on and off the field.
“You can’t take a game like this for granted, some players play for 20 years and never get the opportunity to play at Wembley – you have to make the most of it.
“The semi-final was hard for me to sit and watch but the boys got the job done,” Hauraki, who was suspended for Castleford’s semi-final, said. “I’m going to do the best I can to make myself available for the final.
“I was in good form before the suspension came up and I’ve been determined to maintain that. The boys are so excited about going to Wembley, we are a young squad and some of the boys have dreamt about this their whole lives.
“Daryl Powell has been awesome, he has come in and made us the best defensive side in the league. It would mean the world to us and the supporters to lift that trophy at Wembley.”
Hauraki has already experienced a Challenge Cup final, having featured for Leeds in their 2011 Cup loss to Warrington Wolves.
“It was the best atmosphere I have ever played in,” he said. “Not being from England, at first I had no idea how much the Challenge Cup meant but now I’m here and I’ve experienced it, I’ve definitely got the bug.
“To play against my former team is going to be fantastic, I said when we started doing well in the Cup run that I would like nothing better than to face Leeds in the final.
“We want to give a special mention to Jack Fulton, our Chairman. We are going there to win it for him, he deserves it for everything he has done for the club.”
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 cost from aa little as £22 and can be purchased by calling the 24-hour Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk