Challenge Cup draw brought Wembley memories flooding back

0
Have your say

What an honour it was to be asked to help make theTetleys Challenge Cup fourth round draw earlier this week.

Everyone knows what that competition means to me. The Challenge Cup has always been a great competition. It is probably the greatest in the whole of the game. If you ask any player, whether he comes from this county, New Zealand or Australia, they want to play at Wembley.

I know people will say otherwise nowadays but it is still the biggest game of the year every season.

It is the finest tournament of them all so, for me, it was a great pleasure to be over at Warrington, one of my former clubs, to take part.

It brought it all back being there again and it makes you think about the competition’s great history.

It was 1974 when I captained them to this famous cup having done the same with St Helens in 1961 and, most famously, Leigh against Leeds in 1971.

But being at the cup draw on Monday allowed me to speak to a lot of people from clubs all over our game.

Those included one or two of the directors from Sheffield Eagles who, of course, had that great victory at Wembley when they beat Wigan in 1998.

Those underdog stories are just the sort of tales that the Challenge Cup can spring up and it will be interesting to see if any happen now in 2013. It is a magnificent competition and I think now people know about the new Wembley more they want to go. It’s a family day out and that’s what the Challenge Cup still does for people

As for Super League this year I look at another of my old clubs – Huddersfield – and think they’re a very good side. The coach Paul Anderson is doing a great job, they are very solid and he has some excellent players.

The little lad Danny Brough is playing out of his skin. He is the kingpin at the minute.

A lot of people are talking about him and I think it’s right as there is not too many of his style of scrum-half nowadays.

What he does is he makes the game look easy. He can help his team-mates get through the game as he is so good at making the opponents play in their own half.

He is a proper football player. He reads the game but not only that he can tackle, kick and, in my eyes, is a perfect player.

I like that he can do something out of nothing and there aren’t many scrum-halves like him now in the modern game with a lot of restraints on players.

I just don’t think gameplans are necessarily working; you don’t need to tell good players how to run a game. Good players are born with it. It is in their brain.

Good players should not be told when to do it and how to do it. Instead, they should be able to go out and do it.

But I do think this is the best Huddersfield side I’ve seen for a long time. I’m very close to the Huddersfield people having started the club up again more or less when I went there in 1991 and got promotion. I really do wish them all the best.

There’s a few players in there who could play for England but I would certainly have put Broughy in that squad.

One last word on the Challenge Cup, though.

If I had to pick one moment that game for Leigh was something special.

Winning for Warrington was brilliant but winning with Leigh was different again.

We had no hope. We had no chance whatsoever but we did it against Leeds and it was a brilliant performance and one I’ll never forget.

Interview by Dave Craven

Back to the top of the page