Tetley's Challenge Cup: Leeds Rhinos' Tom Briscoe aiming for silverware in 2014
By Jonathan Doidge
Last Updated: 22/08/14 8:16am
Leeds winger Tom Briscoe will return to Wembley for the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final for a second successive year on Saturday aiming to go one better than last time.
The England flyer was part of the Hull FC team defeated by Wigan in last year’s renewal and has also played beneath the Twin Towers for England and he admits that playing at the venue is different from anything he has experienced.
Castleford are the opponents for the Rhinos on Saturday and Briscoe will be looking to make the most of the occasion after letting previous trips to the capital pass him by.
“It’s not the same as other games no,” he told Sky Sports. “Obviously finals rarely come about and I think that through my experiences through the Challenge Cup and throughout my career it’s one that you’ve really got to savour and make the most of the week.
“Going back to 2008 when I first played at Wembley it was all quite sudden and I didn’t really take it all in. I suppose I might have thought that it would just happen to me every few years, so last season when I played there I treated it differently and just tried to enjoy the whole experience.
“Little things like getting to train at Wembley for the final run, when you first get there I don’t think you really grasp what you are doing and really take it all in.
“Then you look back and think I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I should have done. So last year I made a conscious effort to do that and it will be the same this time.”
The 2013 final will go down as one of the least memorable in the history of the famous old trophy, with the weather putting a dampener on the occasion and Hull FC’s performance being some way short of what they were capable, in losing 16-0.
Mindful of that, Briscoe says that while trying to soak up the different elements of the build-up, the key to winning the game is ultimately to treat it like any other.
“It’s just one of those things. Obviously some people deal with it better than others,” he admitted.
You are picked to play for your club and to play in a certain way. You can’t afford to change those things just because it’s a final. Those are the things that have got you there and you don’t need to be making big changes to how you play.
“You’ve got be confident in your own ability and not get too overwhelmed with it. You have to go back to basics.
“You are picked to play for your club and to play in a certain way. You can’t afford to change those things just because it’s a final. Those are the things that have got you there and you don’t need to be making big changes to how you play.
“You have to retain focus. We all have our own jobs to do within the team and if we can do them well then that will go a long way towards helping us to win the game.”
Having flirted with the idea of going to the NRL and spoken to one or two Australian clubs about a move last year, the 24-year-old found the chance to move to Headingley Carnegie too tempting and arrived in the close season. His appearance in Saturday’s decider was a major factor that influenced his decision.
“This club has won a lot of silverware in the past decade or so and it was one of the reasons that I wanted to come and play here.
“To be up there challenging in Super League and to get to Wembley in my first season here I think shows that I made a good decision and I’m loving it at the club.”
With 12 tries in just 26 starts Briscoe has already showing his international finishing abilities and he admits that he will have to be at his best to lower Castleford’s colours at the weekend.
“I feel like I am in good form but we are all going to need to be to beat Cas. The props, Lynch, Huby and also in the pack Millington are superb players with great go-forward who also have the ability to offload. It is going to be difficult to stop them.
“On the back of that you’ve got Sneyd, Dorn and Ellis who have been testing defences including ours consistently all season.
“Then opposite players like myself in the backs are Carney and Dixon on the wings and Shenton in the centres who can score tries from anywhere.
“Daryl Clark has been ripping teams up down the middle for fun this season and he’s another great young player and one that we’ll have to try to contain on the day.”
The 15-times capped England flyer clearly has a healthy respect for Saturday’s opponents then, but he would also love to be part of what would be a famous chapter in the careers of some of his own team mates if, after losing their last six finals in this competition, the Rhinos can find a way to win it.
“For me personally I’d love to do it but on another level, for the JPs (Jamie Peacock), the (Danny) McGuires, Rob (Burrow) and Kev (Sinfield), all that core of players that have served this club for so long, it would be incredible to be part of the team that finally achieves a Wembley win with that calibre of player.”