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At Wembley, Saturday August 28, kick-off 2.30pm
Warrington have obviously tasted victory at Wembley and know how good it feels. That's massive for them and I think it will play a part but, on the flip side, we want to get a taste of it
Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield
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Some old friends will go toe-to-toe at Wembley on Saturday as Leeds and Warrington battle it out in the Carnegie Challenge Cup final.
The Wolves return to the famous venue looking to retain the crown they lifted 12 months ago with a hard-fought 25-16 victory over Huddersfield.
Skipper Adrian Morley lifted the trophy for Warrington on that day and he will be hoping to do the same again this weekend at the expense of one of his old employers.
Standing in his way will be good friend and former team-mate Kevin Sinfield, who was just 18 when Morley was part of the last Leeds team to lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley back in 1999.
The Rhinos captain admits he was delighted to see his fellow England international hold the trophy aloft last year - and now wants to do it himself.
"I've a lot of time for Moz," Sinfield said. "I really enjoy his company and I've been fortunate enough to play at international level with him.
"I was delighted for Moz that he captained a side to victory at Wembley last year. He's had a great year and he's a fantastic player.
"Warrington have obviously tasted victory at Wembley and know how good it feels. That's massive for them and I think it will play a part but, on the flip side, we want to get a taste of it."
Morley is not the only Leeds old boy in Warrington's ranks. Coach Tony Smith enjoyed a highly successful time in charge at Headingley Carnegie, though he was pipped by Hull FC in a thrilling cup final in Cardiff five years ago.
"I've still got friends there and always will have," he said. "When they're not playing us, I wish them well but that is as far as it goes.
"I've moved on well and truly. It doesn't take long to adjust to a new environment. I love it here and the people I work with.
"I coached at Huddersfield and we played them last year. I am able to disassociate myself in terms of work with what has happened in the past."
Smith has sprung a major surprise for the big game, leaving England scrum-half Richie Myler out of his 17-man squad.
The 20-year-old makes way for hooker Micky Higham in the only change to the side that emphatically won the semi-final 54-12 against Catalans Dragons.
With Myler not picked, Michael Monaghan - Lance Todd Trophy winner as man of the match in last year's success over the Giants - switches to scrum-half to play alongside Lee Briers, with Jon Clarke starting at hooker.
"It was a difficult decision," Smith admitted at the team's traditional eve-of-final walkabout at Wembley.
"It's not an easy job and it's not a pleasurable job but when you're fit and healthy somebody has got to miss out.
"It's tough on Richard because he's had a terrific year and he's been very good for us. He's handled it exceptionally well and showed a lot of maturity. I'm sure he's going to play in plenty of big games and I gave him a lot of reassurance about that."
Opposite number Brian McClennan is yet to name his starting line-up, though Scott Donald could return from injury to play on the wing and Carl Ablett is available again having completed his three-match suspension.
Leeds are certain to be without the influential Jamie Peacock and fellow forward Luke Burgess with the pair ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
Leeds squad: Webb; Smith, Delaney, Senior, Hall; McGuire, Burrow; Leuluai, Buderus, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield (capt), Diskin, Lauitiiti, Eastwood, Kirke, Clarkson, Donald.
Warrington team: Mathers; Riley, Atkins, King, Hicks; Briers, Monaghan; Morley (capt), Clarke, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison.
Substitutes: V Anderson, Wood, Higham, Solomona.
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|14:30||Leigh Miners Rangers vs West Hull|
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|Sunday 8th March|
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|14:30||Hemel Stags vs Oxford|
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