Hull eager to taste Wembley success once more

Danny Washbrook.
Danny Washbrook.
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CONSIDERING he cannot remember large chunks of last year’s Wembley success, Danny Washbrook has plenty of reasons to want to do it all again in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup for Hull FC.

The task will not be easy; the holders face formidable opponents in the shape of runaway Super League leaders Castleford Tigers in tomorrow’s televised quarter-final at KCOM Stadium.

Nevertheless, Hull are primed to march on again given their appetite for more – having waited 86 years to win at the famous venue – is insatiable.

Washbrook came off the bench in the back-row as they beat Warrington Wolves last August but showed his versatility yet again when standing in for hooker and Man of Steel Danny Houghton in last week’s impressive 34-10 win at second-placed Salford Red Devils.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, he recalled: “Obviously, last year was just outstanding what happened.

“It was a career highlight for me and many of us but there’s a lot of that day that I can’t remember.

“Just the emotion of it all and when that final whistle went and we realised…. ‘That’s it… we’ve done it’.

“Once you’ve won it once you do want to do it all again and maybe look to cherish the moments a bit more and take more of it all in.

“We desperately want to get back there but there’s another reason as well – we see it that it’s our trophy now. And we don’t want to let it go.”

Coach Lee Radford has included England prop Scott Taylor, Houghton and Australian second-row Mark Minichiello in his squad so they could all return to aid Hull’s defence.

However, there is still no captain Gareth Ellis or half-back Marc Sneyd, the man who won the Lance Todd Trophy last season and also helped Castleford to their last final in 2014.

Back then, the West Yorkshire club lost out to Leeds Rhinos and, indeed, they have not lifted the famous trophy since as long ago as 1986.

Many feel this Tigers team, though, is destined for some sort of silverware this term whether at Wembley or Old Trafford.

Washbrook, 31, conceded: “They have got a good team and they have won their last eight matches.

“We were the last team to beat them but that was back in April so it’s been a while.

“It is all set up to be a cracking game.”

That last meeting was a strange affair, Hull – now in fourth – remarkably winning 26-24 at the KCOM Stadium despite playing almost an hour with just 12 men following Liam Watts’s red card.

“We started that game really well,” added Washbrook, who signed a new deal for 2018 with his hometown club earlier this week.

“We were 18-0 in front when it was 13 v 13 and before Wattsy was sent off.

“Cas lost Luke Gale (to injury) in that incident, too, and it was probably the worst they’d played all season.

“But, still, it was also one of those games where we really dug deep with just 12 men and really defended outstandingly well.

“We’ll see how we go this time around.”

Meanwhile, Washbrook – who helped Hull to their only Grand Final appearance in 2006 during his first stint with the club – captained the Airlie Birds last week while also filling in at nine.

“It was a very proud moment for me,” he said.

“I’d done it before in some pre-season games but they didn’t go too well and I’d never done it in Super League.

“I needed to get my win per cent ration up a bit!

“I do enjoy it. I always captained teams at Academy level and in my amateur days and I did a bit when I was at Wakefield (Trinity).

“But we have Gaz here and, if not Mint (Houghton) captains a lot and then there’s Mini (Minichiello) too.

“Mini had to sit out last week, though, so they were left with me…”

Castleford have ex-Hull KR centre Jake Webster back in their 19-man squad along with fit-again Larne Patrick, the former Huddersfield Giants forward who could make his first appearance of the season.