Leeds are back on happy hunting ground

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Brett Ferres came to Huddersfield Giants to win some silverware and today he hopes to take a big stride towards Wembley.

The 27-year-old England back-row forward was forced to watch from the sidelines as a youngster at Odsal as Bradford Bulls competed for trophies.

He then spent spells at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Castleford Tigers before being tempted with a move to the John Smith’s Stadium last season.

Now Paul Anderson’s Giants sit second in Super League and today tackle Leeds Rhinos in the fifth round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.

The Rhinos have reached the final for the last three seasons, so Ferres knows victory today in front of the BBC cameras would represent a major scalp on the road to Wembley and an August 24 showcase final.

“I was at Bradford at a really good time when they were winning trophies,” he said. “I never actually got to play (in the big games) because I was a bit young.

“I went to a couple of other sides which weren’t really challenging in those sort of areas, and it’s always nice to be wanted by a top club.

“You don’t go out to just play every week, get wins here and there, you want trophies and silverware. It’s always at the back of your mind, that’s what you want.

“That’s what I want to do. It’s just nice to be looking down (in the table), rather than up for a change.

“I would love to get to the Challenge Cup final. I have got to the semi-finals twice, and hopefully, this time can be my year when I go one step further.

“We feel we can go all the way. Man for man, we believe that we are as strong as anybody in Super League, have a cracking squad and have built a great side over the last couple of years. Things are starting to come to fruition now.

“It’s really exciting. We have a really young English back line as well, which we are very proud of.

“The average age of the squad is really down there. Kruise Leeming (17) made his debut last week and there’s probably five or six youngsters who won’t be far off getting a game this year so it’s definitely encouraging.

“Even Leroy (Cudjoe) and Jermaine (McGillvary) are only 23, so it’s exciting times ahead and a credit to the club building a good future.”

Ferres was a losing semi-finalist for Wakefield against Hull FC in 2008 and for Castleford against today’s opponents Leeds two years ago.

He refuses to visit Wembley as a fan, hoping to finally arrive at the famous stadium this season in a Giants shirt.

“It was really disappointing to be just pipped in the semi-finals,” he recalled. “It would be good to go one step further this year.

“Winners are grinners and that’s where we want to be. No one remembers second, third or fourth. You want to be at the top and we have not been a side that has competed in those games for a long time and brought silverware back to Huddersfield. That’s what we want to achieve.

“I have never been to Wembley before. I have watched it on television before, but I would like to stay away until I actually play there.”

Huddersfield have reached the final twice in the last decade, losing both times in 2006 and 2009. But they have good memories of playing Leeds, having inflicted a 32-8 defeat on the Super League champions in March.

Ferres said he had “no idea” why the Giants had a good recent record against the Grand Final winners.

“It’s so easy to go to Leeds and get trampled, get absolutely smashed by them. We just have to play consistently well, and probably not worry about Leeds too much. If we get our game in order, we should be all right.”

Huddersfield will be looking to bounce back from a home defeat to Warrington Wolves six days ago, which Ferres was forced to watch from the sidelines after being rested by Anderson.

He is now champing at the bit to face Leeds, and predicts a fierce Yorkshire derby.

“I think if Paul (Anderson) had really needed me I could have played (against Warrington), but he thought it was better that I got a rest and try and get over a few bumps and bruises.

“This week you can see the benefits. I don’t think I needed a rest, to be honest, I like to play every week. But if the boss says no, you tend to do as you’re told.

“I am fresh now and raring to go this week. Sunday was really disappointing, a poor performance throughout. I don’t think anyone stood out, we were poor in a lot of areas.

“We have had to come in to training, dust ourselves down, put it to the back of our minds and look forward to Leeds. It’s a massive game.

“We will have to be on our toes, Leeds are a great side and it will be an interesting game.

“The game doesn’t need any building up. Huddersfield versus Leeds, it’s a derby game, and is really important. It’s a Cup competition, if you get beat you’re out. There’s no tomorrow.”