Formbook no pointer ahead of Wembley showdown

Daniel Holdsworth
Daniel Holdsworth
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HULL FC’s Challenge Cup semi-final hero Daniel Holdsworth is not fooled by Wigan Warriors’ slump in form.

The Australian stand-off made a remarkable return from injury to inspire the Black and Whites’ last-four victory over Warrington Wolves, setting up tomorrow’s Wembley decider.

Wigan, who have won the famous competition a record 18 times, are overwhelming favourites despite picking up just two victories in their last seven Super League outings.

But Holdsworth – born in 1985, the last time these sides met at Wembley – told the Yorkshire Post: “I suppose we’ve proved ourselves that Super League form doesn’t really matter going into the Challenge Cup.

“We went on a seven-match losing streak in the league but won our two big games in the cup in France and then Warrington.

“We’re not going to buy into any of that. It’s just going to be two good teams giving everything come Saturday.”

The 29-year-old’s quality kicking is sure to be a major facet of Hull’s game-plan, just as it was in their shock semi-final win.

Then, Holdsworth had returned three weeks ahead of schedule from a calf injury to help mastermind the final leg of their journey to Wembley.

Subsequently, the high-profile winter recruit from Salford City Reds has also helped guide Hull to three successive Super League wins, ending that dismal run and securing their play-offs place.

“We spoke about the need to get those three wins but we’ve done that and done enough to get in the top eight, too,” he said.

“But I have to admit it has been a hard thing to deal with trying to go into a game knowing we’ve got one eye on Wembley, too.

“We’ve done okay, though, and it’s exciting now we’re here.

“It’s definitely a weird new experience for me having this four-week build-up to one game.

“Traditionally in Oz, it’s just the top eight play-offs, week to week and you’re always moving on.

“But it’s great to be heading for Wembley now. I’ve never even been before and it’s only now I realise how big this final is.”

Hull named both Ben Crooks and Richard Horne in their 19-man squad that set off for London yesterday, but there was no Tom Lineham (ankle).

Leading try-scorer Crooks has completed a swift recovery and will start, while Horne is set to be 18th man with coach Peter Gentle sticking by rookie full-back Jamie Shaul.

Hull FC: Briscoe, Crookes, Crooks, Ellis, Green, Heremaia, Horne, Holdsworth, Houghton, Lynch, Miller, O’Meley, Pitts, Shaul, Tickle, Watts, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.