Wembley is now just a matter of days away, and to continue our unrivalled buildup to the big event on Saturday, we’ve brought back our weekly blog with Castleford Tigers star Luke Dorn. The full-back has been sensational for Castleford this year, and he sat down with our man Aaron Bower to talk about the game, the buildup, and just how much it would mean to win the cup with Cas..
It’s a good thing there’s not too long between the final – not because I dwell on it too much, but more the fact that I can get out there and play because it’s come so quick. The eight week gap between the quarter and the semi-final was cruel, you start wondering when the game is ever going to come around!
I don’t think we’re trying to put the occasion to one side though, because we all want to experience it properly. But there’s such a good mix of young and old guys that I think it’s something we don’t need to touch on. The week leading up to the Widnes game saw training jump up a notch, and that’s been the case again this week.
I know Leeds will be favourites, and we’ll take anything we can that works in our favour regarding their cup history. I know Brian Mac very well though, and I cannot see them being distracted by their history in a million years. People will make what they will of it, and if it’s in the back of their mind and it causes them to make an error then I’ll take that every day of the week!
The size of the Wembley pitch is something I’ve been thinking about recently, too. It’s great for me because I like to play in space – and even though it will put pressure on us defensively, we like to throw the ball around. Hopefully we’ll be able to give as good as we get, but that pitch will give the fans a great game.
I think the way Daryl has rotated all year will hopefully dividend for us in the final, too. We’ve rotated in and around our big games – whether it has been one or two guys or a few more – obviously last week was a bit different, but I think the rotation policy is going to start to benefit us from now on.
We spoke about it in the first day of pre-season, and how it would come into play towards the business end. He said if we can be relatively fresh come August or September then we can give ourselves the best chance of success – and hopefully that’ll be the case.
Having Justin (Carney, right) potentially come back into the side after two weeks out is going to be big too – he’ll be like a wild dog after having had to miss two games! You see him in training, and it’s been really hard to get the ball off him because he wants to be involved so much. James Clare has been fantastic, but Justin is just a different animal. When he gets his hands on the ball you have no idea what will happen, and that’s what makes him so exciting.
I’m pretty sure the Leeds players won’t get as excited as us Cas lot though! Seriously, I don’t think there’s anyone else in the competition like him.
This town has been through so much – they’ve had so much heartache, but they’ve got so much tradition in the locker. It would mean so much to me to lift a trophy with Castleford Tigers. Now it’s rolled around I don’t want to let the opportunity pass me by – but I’d love to do it for the other lads in the camp, too.
I’d love nothing more to put blokes like Andy Lynch, Kirk Dixon and Michael Shenton up on that podium with a Challenge Cup success to their name. It would make me a very proud man indeed.