De Vere dreams of final glory
The 29-year-old goalkicking centre was a member of the all-conquering Brisbane Broncos side of the 1990s and has a three-from-three record of Grand Final appearances Down Under.
The big-match experience of the New South Wales and Kangaroo threequarter is likely to be crucial against star-studded Saints and he is determined to make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
‚"I used to get up early in the morning to watch the finals as a kid in the Eighties when Wigan used to dominate it,‚" he recalled. ‚"I remember watching people like Ellery Hanley and Martin Offiah.
‚"One final that stands out is the 1985 one when Wigan beat Hull and Brett Kenny won the Lance Todd Trophy. He was my favourite player growing up so I always remember that final.
‚"It was always a goal of mine to have a couple of seasons over here so to play in a Challenge Cup final is something special.
‚"I won three Grand Finals with Brisbane, which was special and to win a Challenge Cup final would be right up there with it.‚"
Standing immediately in the way of De Vere's bid for glory is former Origin team-mate Jamie Lyon, the reigning Man of Steel who arrived in England at the same time as the Broncos legend and took Super League by storm.
Lyon, who like De Vere wore the number four jersey for the Kangaroos on a tour of England, is the game's leading scorer with 342 points this season and is seen as one of the biggest threats to Huddersfield's bid to lift the Cup for the first time for 53 years.
‚"We were room-mates at New South Wales and I got on well with him,‚" said De Vere. ‚"He's been playing great over here.
‚"I always enjoyed playing against him when he was at Parramatta and I was at Brisbane. When you play against good players, it brings out the best in you.
‚"He's one of the best in his position in the world ‚- he's proved that ‚- but the whole team is full of danger. They've got strike power all over the park.‚"
Lyon is returning home to Australia at the end of the season to join Manly and De Vere, who also is out of contract, is contemplating following suit, with the possibility that he may hang up his boots.
‚"I'm not sure what will happen,‚" he said. ‚"I haven't made up my mind whether to keep playing or to finish.
‚"I'll probably sort out my future after the final. I've still got to speak to the club. I'll see how I go over the next few weeks and have a good think about it. I've probably got one or two good years in me.‚"
Saturday's final will come as welcome relief for the Giants from their tense struggle to avoid relegation from engage Super League.
They have lost all three matches since their fabulous 30-12 semi-final win over Leeds Rhinos, including a 58-6 hiding at St Helens, and are just two points above Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with three rounds left of the regular season.
‚"We can switch off the League and just focus on the final,‚" said De Vere. ‚"And then, after this is all finished, we can switch back onto the Super League.
‚"For now, we're not worried. The main thing was the effort has been there for the last two games. We've just got to get our execution right.
‚"We're the underdogs ‚- we know that ‚- but, if everyone in the team plays to the best of his ability, there is no reason why we can't win.‚"