Wigan Warriors v Wakefield Trinity: Milestone moment comes as surprise to Liam Finn

Wakefield's Liam Finn.
Wakefield's Liam Finn.
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FITTINGLY, World Club champions Wigan Warriors will be the opponents as Wakefield Trinity’s Liam Finn makes his 400th career appearance on Monday.

Pitting his skills against one of the sport’s great names is an ideal chance for the 33-year-old half-back to mark such a milestone.

Liam Finn.

Liam Finn.

However, Ireland captain Finn is such a rugby league fan he insists he would have enjoyed running around with his mates at Halifax amateurs Siddal just as much if things had not taken off.

Famously, he did not actually properly emerge at the elite level until the age of 30 when joining Castleford Tigers.

Undoubtedly, though, having initially plied his trade with the likes of part-timers Dewsbury Rams and Featherstone Rovers, he is now firmly established in Super League and recently signed a new deal for Trinity.

Indeed, he has been central to their impressive form this term – they hope to secure a sixth straight win this afternoon and maintain a push for the top-four.

I didn’t know this next one was 400. I’m a bit taken aback as I didn’t think I’d played that many games.

Wakefield Trinity’s Liam Finn

But, talking to The Yorkshire Post, Finn conceded: “I didn’t know this next one was 400.

“I’m a bit taken aback as I didn’t think I’d played that many games.

“But hearing that I am quite proud of myself and pretty chuffed with that achievement.

“Looking back at the start, I wouldn’t have ever expected it – 400 games across three or four different leagues!

“I knew I might not make it in Super League terms. I always wanted to play Super League but I just wanted to play at the highest level I could really. I’d have still enjoyed playing at the other clubs I have in the Championship and in Championship One or National League Two as it was called then.

“I was just really happy to be playing rugby at a high level and getting paid to play it.

“If I’d have gone another level down and gone back to Siddal it wouldn’t have been the end of me in a rugby sense.

“I would still have enjoyed the game and played for them in National Conference or wherever.

“So, to go through the different leagues and eventually get into Super League and take the chance when I did go to Cas, I’m just really happy.”

Finn’s total is amassed from 22 games with hometown Halifax – where, as a teenager, he played briefly in Super League in 2002 and 2003 – 139 matches over two spells with Featherstone, a further 109 at Dewsbury and 51 for Trinity, including a couple when he was first at Belle Vue in 2004.

Of course, there are another 25 appearances for Ireland but it is today’s game at Wigan that is now at the forefront of his mind.

Their opponents have failed to win in their last four games and were pipped 22-19 late on at derby rivals St Helens last Thursday.

Asked what he was expecting from Wigan, Finn replied: “The usual. A lot of talk about how upset they are about losing and how they are going to take it out on us.

“But we’ll just ignore everything said in the press and get on with our job, going their confident we can perform well. If we perform well we’ve shown this season we can challenge anyone.

“It’s not always the case of going to a place like that and saying ‘We’re going to win.’

“If you go there, go compete and give yourself a chance going into the last 10 minutes. That’s what you have to do at this level.”

Wakefield edged a hard-fought 28-26 win over Huddersfield Giants on Friday when Sam Williams – who had come on for fellow goalkicker Finn – slotted a difficult conversion of Ben Jones-Bishop’s 70th minute try.

The Australian had been left out of their previous win over Catalans Dragons at Magic Weekend as Chris Chester rotates his half-back options.

Finn said: “It was a great kick and I couldn’t wait to get on and say ‘well done’ for that as obviously he didn’t play in the last game.

“It was his turn to miss out and me, Milky (Jacob Miller) and now him have all done that at some point this season. It is a test of your character and it’s not rattled him in the slightest. He’s still been positive around the boys and deserved that Friday.”

Meanwhile, Jones-Bishop and Keegan Hirst are out of Chester’s 19-man squad, new signing Adam Walker and Mikey Sio coming in.

For Wigan, Joel Tomkins and Liam Forsyth drop out to be replaced by Romain Navarette and youngster James Worthington.