Watkins aiming to have his Wembley way
By Kirsty Saynor
Kallum Watkins will get another chance to fulfil his childhood dream of lifting Rugby League’s most prestigious trophy when Leeds Rhinos take on Castleford Tigers in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (3.00pm).
Standing in their way is a Castleford side who have enjoyed a successful season and Watkins knows only too well that the underdogs will be out to ruin the party.
“Castleford fully deserve their place in this final,” said Watkins. “They have grouped together well and come the end of the season, they are going to be in contention for the Grand Final.
“I think Daryl Clark is an outstanding player but you can’t single him out, they have so many dangerous players we need to be aware of. They are back to being classy Cas.
“They haven’t had the chance like us to play in many finals and so they will be relishing this opportunity but we are training hard and we are really looking forward to the game.”
Centre Watkins featured in the 2011 Challenge Cup final for Leeds when they were beaten 28-18 by Wigan Warriors and he is determined not to let history repeat itself.
His first taste of silverware came in the club’s 2012 Super League Grand Final win and now, having experienced that success, Watkins is determined to bring the Cup back to Leeds for the first time since 1999.
“Winning the Challenge Cup is a long time coming for us,” said Watkins. “We have put in some brilliant performances to get to Wembley and we just have to get over this last hurdle. It’s an exciting day and we just can’t wait to get out there on Saturday.”
“It’s all about form on the day, all the players from one to 17 have to put in their best performance. We’ve been there a few times in recent years and either started poorly or tired towards the end and that’s cost us the game but we’ve learnt from those experiences and now we are more confident than ever.”
“To just play at Wembley is a dream come true to me, it’s the kind of game you watched as a kid and wanted to play in and now I’m fortunate enough to do so again.”
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 cost from as 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