Challenge Cup Final: Hull FC man Joe Westerman in dream final
Hull FC's Joe Westerman says it will be a dream come true to run out at Wembley for the Challenge Cup final on Saturday.
Last Updated: 21/08/13 8:10am
The Hull loose forward was just nine when he went to cheer hometown club Castleford in their semi-final against underdogs London Broncos at Headingley only to have his heart broken.
Fourteen years on, Westerman will be at Wembley as a player as Hull look to turn the tables on Wigan in the 2013 final.
"It's massive for me," he said. "Obviously to be playing at Wembley is a dream come true.
"The closest I've been is watching Cas versus London at Leeds in 1999 when Steele Retchless scored in the last second to put Cas out.
"I was absolutely gutted because I was going to Wembley that year to watch them."
Westerman spent three seasons with Castleford before joining Hull for a six-figure transfer fee three years ago in a bid to win trophies.
"Cas are my hometown club and I grew up watching them but I moved to Hull thinking they were a big club on the up and we've showed that this year," he said.
"Reaching Wembley is massive for me and my family and I can't wait to get there."
Despite upsetting the odds to beat Catalan Dragons in the quarter-final in Perpignan and then overcoming holders Warrington in the last four, Hull remain underdogs against star-studded Wigan, who are aiming to win the trophy for a record 19th time.
Westerman accepts the odds are stacked against his side but insists that, despite continuing uncertainty over team selection caused by injuries, they will not lack self-belief as they look to win at Wembley for the first time in the club's 148-year history.
"It doesn't matter if you are bottom of the table, if you are going into a final, anything can happen," he said.
"There's 17 players against 17 players and it doesn't matter what injuries you've got. Everyone is going to be out there giving 110 per cent and wanting to win. They're a quality side with quality players and they will be very tough to beat.
"Sam Tomkins is a brilliant player and a top international and they've (Sean) O'Loughlin and (Michael) McIlorum as well but we've got Gaz Ellis and there's DJ (Daniel Holdsworth) and (Mark) O'Meley so we've got great players as well.
"We don't expect to be favourites but, on the day, it's 17 against 17. We'll train hard and on Saturday we'll bring our A game and hopefully get the win."