Leeds Rhinos star Zoe Hornby hails unforgettable Elland Road experience

Challenge Cup final Player of the Match Zoe Hornby admits Saturday’s game will live long in her memory, despite being on the losing side as Leeds Rhinos went down 18-8 to St Helens.

The 23-year-old, who hails from the North East, beat off competition from team-mate Georgia Roche as well as Saints quintet Rebecca Rotheram, Beth Stott, Eboni Partington, Emily Rudge and Chantelle Crowl to take the individual honour voted for by members of the press.

Hornby’s try in the opening quarter that put Leeds in front was the first points conceded by St Helens since last September.

“When I heard my name announced as Player of the Match it was disbelief really,” admitted Hornby.

“It took me a minute to realise what was happening and then all my team was there cheering me on. For me that was the realisation of where I am and who I am playing for, so it was phenomenal.

“I do feel like I went out there and did what I had been told I needed to do. You always come off feeling like you could have done more, but you don’t play the ‘what if’ game in these kind of games. You just go out and do what you can.

“I do feel like I reached my targets and will continue to push to do better.

“It does feel like a consolation and it’s hard to take, but we’ve come a long way and everyone in our team should have their heads held high.

“I was just really happy to get the try. It was a good team try and I just spotted the gap and just went for it.

“Luckily I had the gas and was able to go through and I was really proud to have scored it against such a strong team.

“We played well and did what we set out to do at the start, so the result is a hard one to take, but that is not all we have this season. We have a lot more to give and that will show as the league season gets underway.

“Playing at Elland Road was incredible. We came down to the stadium the night before and that was overwhelming, but having the crowd in there, and a record-breaking crowd, was just incredible. It was one of those experiences I will never forget.”

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