Dave Craven: Giants are bringing back the memories all in a worthy cause

Everyone loves to look back and reminisce, including in the world of rugby league.

It is especially true since the game switched to summer, with many traditionalists still longing for the good old days of mud and guts football, before the advent of professionalism when everything got just a little too slick.

Well, now, there is every reason to hark back and in aid of a good cause, too, not just nostalgia.

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Huddersfield Giants have announced Sunday’s fixture against Bradford Bulls as a way of celebrating the Sporting Memories Network, an organisation which aims to encourage rekindling of memories to improve mental health among dementia sufferers.

Participating in meaningful, interesting and stimulating activities – such as recollecting sporting moments in this instance – can lead to many benefits for the mind and body.

Huddersfield have urged fans from both clubs to submit pictures or film or just strike up conversations about their favourite sporting times to help stimulate recollection.

Obviously, the 1944-45 Challenge Cup final between these West Yorkshire rivals would be a big topic of conversation while a raft of current players have listed their finest moments.

“My favourite rugby memory would be winning the World Club Challenge with Bradford against Wests Tigers,” Huddersfield vice-captain Brett Ferres told the Yorkshire Post, of that 2006 destruction of the Sydney side.

“I was a young kid and that was my first bit of silverware and my only one to date.

“The win against Leeds at the end of last year for Giants would be up there, too. We went down to 12 men and obviously bumped them, so that was a nice feeling. It’s always good to beat Leeds.”

Spoken like a true Castlefordian.

It got me thinking about my own memories as a player.

Mine are not quite as celebrated as winning a Grand Final, as such, although my most vivid is perhaps the one where I nearly cost my Oulton Raiders colleagues a place in its own version of such an event.

I still get cold sweats just thinking about the moment I knocked on in front of my own posts during a crucial league game against Wigan St Patrick’s.

I told the coach afterwards never to pick me again. Thankfully, he did not and, a few weeks later, we went on to win the Grand Final while I returned to the sanctuary of the A team.

Playing at the famous Boulevard was better although even then I got stretchered off with a broken ankle. Well, it was not actually broken but the physio did say, in all her time in the medical profession, she had never seen one quite as badly swollen and yet still not actually be fractured.

In fairness, I think most of the damage was done when I was shoddily carried (bounced) up the terraces to the old dressing rooms.

Even a handful of games for Hunslet Hawks’ Academy did not bring too much joy especially the day I only got told I was 18th man AFTER we arrived at Prescott Panthers or Lancashire Lynx or some version of Chorley.

I remember clearly being riled at the realisation I could have earned about £16 instead doing an easy shift at the Hilton restaurant that day.

Eighteenth man duty also, cruelly, befell me when Oulton headed to Barrow in the Challenge Cup but the takeaway pizzas delivered to the changing rooms afterwards were cracking.

Yes, watching from the stands is probably best for my evocative memories and we had a classic at Leeds last Friday in that epic World Club Challenge.

Which brings me to an admission. A breakdown in communications had me writing Leeds did not play the Australian national anthem for Melbourne at Headingley but, it turns out, the Storm had the option but preferred not to take it due to their number of non-Australians.

After all the talk of the eminence of Kangaroos trio Smith, Slater and Cronk, a timely reminder that the Kiwis could be just as useful in the 2013 World Cup.