Jonny Presley hopes lessons picked up from watching Catalan Dragons on television can help York City Knights deliver one of this weekend’s Challenge Cup upsets.
The Championship outfit travel to Perpignan tomorrow to face to the Super League side and the odds are fixed firmly against York.
But the Knights half-back – happy to be back in English rugby having spent 2012 playing in Australia with Fremantle Roosters – believes they can take inspiration from Featherstone’s surprise win over Castleford last year.
“These are the kind of matches every player wants to be involved in, especially the English boys,” said Presley. “Playing in the Challenge Cup takes me back to my childhood watching the games on Grandstand and listening to Ray French.
“To play and be involved in games such as these in such a prestigious competition is really special. We’ve all dreamt of playing at Wembley and you never know what can happen in the Challenge Cup. It’s exciting to get an opportunity to play against Super League opposition and test yourself against the best. If we were to win, it would certainly be one of the highlights of my career.
“Cup shocks do happen, you only have to look back to last year when Featherstone beat Castleford, but everyone at the club realises the size of the task.
“It helps that Catalans are on TV a lot so we know how they play and who to watch out for but it’s important to concentrate on ourselves and our performance, both collectively and individually.
“If we can get that right, I’m sure we will do York and the fans proud.
“The boys are looking forward to it. It gives us the opportunity to spend a couple of days together which will only strengthen the great team spirit we have.”
The Knights have signed half-back Ben Johnson on a one-month loan from Castleford.
The Knights have moved quickly to cover the loss of Danny Nicklas to Hull KR by signing the 21-year-old former York Acorn junior, whose season-long loan at Dewsbury was cut short.