Wakefield Trinity Wildcats forward Andy Raleigh is confident his side can have what it takes to knock last season’s Carnegie Challenge Cup runners-up Leeds Rhinos out of this year’s competition when the two sides go head-to-head in a fourth round tie at Headingley Carnegie Stadium tomorrow (Friday April 13, 8.00pm).
Having played in the 2006 final against St Helens for Huddersfield, Raleigh has first-hand experience of just how special the Challenge Cup can be. The prop has also experienced the agony of watching from the side-lines when the Giants made it to Wembley in 2009 and he’s dreaming of making amends for that disappointment in 2012.
“I played in the final when Huddersfield played St Helens at Twickenham and that was an amazing experience,” said Raleigh. “We went into that game against St Helens as underdogs and we weren’t expected to win but the nerves in the week up to the game and the whole experience was something that I will never forget.
“St Helens were too strong for us on the day and that’s obviously disappointing, but it was my first year in Super League and a great year for me personally.
“I also missed out in 2009 when the final was played at Wembley because I had a calf injury, but it was a really special experience to be involved in an event at Wembley – even though I wasn’t playing and I’d love to get the opportunity to take to the field at Wembley as a competing player.
“The Cup is a great competition and I think I’ve played in every round having played in it as an amateur before going into the professional ranks. Every round is special and obviously we all want to go as far as we can in the competition and it would be great for us at Wakefield if we could be in the hat for the fifth round draw.
“We’ve a tough task ahead of us against Leeds but the Cup always brings that extra dimension to a game and the incentive of playing at Wembley is a huge driving force for all of us.
“We’re both coming off tough Easter weekend games and we’ll both be going into the game hungry for a victory but we know if we can play to our best then we’ll put ourselves in with a great chance of progressing.”
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