Tetley's Challenge Cup: Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos clash at Wembley
Last Updated: 23/08/14 7:18am
Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos meet in a clash of West Yorkshire sides in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at Wembley on Saturday.
Leeds will be looking to lift the trophy for the first time since 1999, enduring six final losses since then, while the Tigers last tasted success in the competition in 1986.
It is the first final for the Tigers since 1992 and the occasion will have extra poignancy for head coach Daryl Powell as he comes up against the club he played for with distinction and coached in Challenge Cup finals.
Powell was a member of the last Rhinos side to win the cup in 1999 and he is relishing Saturday’s test.
"It's pretty special for me,” admitted Powell, believing the Tigers can cause an upset after holding the Rhinos to a 24-24 draw away in July.
“They're a good side and will take some beating but we were excellent against them the other week and have got to feel confident whoever we are playing against."
Leeds boss Brian McDermott broke with tradition by announcing his team to face Castleford at the start of Wembley week.
The Rhinos team will be the one that beat Warrington 24-16 in the semi-finals, with centre Joel Moon, utility player Liam Sutcliffe and hooker Paul Aiton set to make their first Cup final appearances.
McDermott insisted his bold statement did not amount to a show of confidence, saying: "It's a sign that everybody is fit.
"If you were to ask Daryl what our team's going to be, he'd say it and I think everybody else in this room knows what it was going to be. There's no smoke and mirrors."
Castleford cruised to the final with a 28-6 win over Widnes at Leigh Sports Village and Justin Carney can’t wait to experience the buzz of his first senior final at Wembley.
“On paper Leeds are nearly the best side anywhere in the world. They’re right up there so it will be a big challenge but I think we’re up to it,” he argued.
“I think it’s important to enjoy the atmosphere but don’t let it hinder your performance because that’s when it can go pear-shaped.
“We all know what Wembley is all about. Just to play at Wembley is enough. If I walk out to a sea of black and amber I don’t know what my reaction will be. I’ll probably start crying! It will be awesome.”
Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield, who is hoping to take part in his first final victory after experiencing five defeats in the last 10 years, will be playing only his second match in five weeks after completing a two-match ban for his dismissal in the 24-24 league draw against Castleford last month but he is not concerned about his lack of match practice.
"It might have been something I'd have worried about 10 years ago but not now," Sinfield insisted.
Both teams go into the final on the back of Super League losses - Leeds to London, Castleford to Warrington - after fielding much-changed teams ahead of Saturday's showpiece.
Castleford Tigers: Dixon, Shenton, Webster, Carney, Dorn, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Hauraki, Massey, Clark, Holmes, Mariano, Wheeldon, Ellis, Finn, Jewitt, Carvell.
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Delaney, Ablett, Jones-Buchanan. Subs: Kirke, Bailey, Aiton, Sutcliffe.