This time last year Liam Finn was plying his trade in the Kingstone Press Championship with Featherstone Rovers – 12 months on, the half-back is hoping to play a key role in helping his former club’s arch-rivals lift the most coveted trophy in Rugby League, the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.
Since leaving Featherstone, Finn has provided compelling proof of the depth of talent within the Championships and his vast experience will be important for his new team Castleford Tigers when they face Leeds Rhinos in the final of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at Wembley Stadium (3.00pm).
Finn followed his old coach Daryl Powell in making the short journey to Castleford from Featherstone, where he was named Championship Player of the Year in 2010, having been crowned Championship One Player of the Year with Dewsbury Rams the previous season.
To take a step up to the top flight from the Championships, where he had made his name, so late in his career was a big step but it is one that has paid off massively for the 31-year-old.
“At the start of the season, all I was worried about was getting into the team, to now think I’m going to Wembley is just incredible,” said Finn, whose previous career highlight was captaining Ireland in Rugby League World Cup 2013.
“I know how Daryl works, he has fantastic attention to detail and when the opportunity came up to play the sport I love and to put all the things I have learned to test on a full-time basis, I couldn’t resist.
“I thought I would end my career at Featherstone but things change fast and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play in Super League again.”
Finn did spend a season at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats back in 2004 but never saw himself as a full-time professional again.
Now on his way to Wembley, the 31-year-old knows that the Tigers face an almighty task in the form of Leeds but he is ready to give something back to the loyal Castleford supporters.
“Beating Widnes in the semi-final gave us confidence, we were incredibly composed in that game and did exactly what we set out to do,” he said.
“There are no players in that Rhinos team that we can ignore, they are a solid unit and we just can’t afford to switch off. They know what it takes to go to these big games and win.
“We have had a fantastic season and we work hard for each other, as long as we can maintain that work ethic, there’s no reason we can’t win this game.
“The fans are the best I have ever known and as a club this is a massive deal for us. We want to go out there and win it for the loyal supporters who have stuck by us.”
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