In 2001, when Kurt Gidley was involved in a side who won the NRL during his first season as a professional, he probably needed a friendly nudge to remind him it wasn’t always going to be that easy.
And how the 34-year-old knows it now. Fast forward 15 years, and the veteran Australian is still yet to win another major trophy alongside that Grand Final triumph of 2001 – and he’s come close on a couple of occasions.
The desperation of falling at the final hurdle was all too evident for Gidley as recently as a couple of weeks ago, when he suffered heartache in the Challenge Cup final with the Wolves.
But luckily, Gidley has another chance to get his hands on a trophy so soon after the last opportunity – with victory tonight guaranteeing Warrington a first League Leader’s Shield in five years – and a first piece of silverware for Gidley since 2001.
“We’re all excited, because the ball is in our court,” Gidley says. “We’ve got a great opportunity to finish as league leaders a week early and not worry about the following week. It’s all there and in place for us to achieve something we wanted to do at the start of the year.
“I’ve never won a minor premiership throughout my whole career. The Challenge Cup was an opportunity missed for us as a team and for me personally. But you can’t worry about the past, the next one is the one which presents itself and that’s this weekend for us, luckily.”
Gidley missed two goals – including one which would have put Warrington 12-0 up – at Wembley last month, before being forced off due to an eye injury just before Hull’s dramatic comeback. That could easily constitute a dark cloud hanging over the head of a man who has come close to glory on multiple occasions throughout his career, but the 34-year-old insists he has already put his personal Wembley demons to bed.
“I’ve done plenty of things that have been memorable in a good way and things in my career that haven’t been so memorable,” he says. “If I was living in the past my whole career, I wouldn’t be where I am.
“It is what it is unfortunately, you can’t change what happened in the Challenge Cup. I’ve moved on and I’m looking forward to this weekend and the opportunity to win the League Leader’s Shield. I’ve never played in a Grand Final before so that opportunity is a great one too, if we get there.”