Jordan Turner can’t wait to turn out at Wembley – but the Castleford star is also looking forward to returning to the more humble surroundings of the Mend-A-Hose Jungle following the Challenge Cup final showdown with his old club St Helens.
In only his second appearance for the Tigers at their home ground, the versatile 32-year-old Jamaica international who was an astute closed-season capture from Huddersfield helped his side beat Salford 19-18 in the quarter-finals.
Turner went on to cross for a hat-trick in the 35-20 semi-final success against Warrington at Leigh.
That sent Castleford to the final for the first time since 2014, and they are aiming to lift the trophy for the first time since 1986.
It also presented coach Daryl Powell with the opportunity to bow out in style before he heads to the team whose Wembley hopes they ended next season.
And it provided the chance of a first Wembley appearance for Oldham-born Turner, who started out at Salford, who were Castleford’s pre-final Super League visitors, and has also played for Hull and had a spell at Canberra Raiders.
Saints are aiming to end a 13-year Challenge Cup drought and Turner said: “They’re the toughest opponents we could face. I know how much the competition means to the club and the chairman.”
Of course the Challenge Cup also means a lot to four-times winners Castleford, who will be competing in their seventh final.
Powell’s side still have ambitions of making the play-offs, and will resume their Super League campaign away to Catalans on Saturday week, July 24.
That’s the first of eleven remaining regular-season fixtures, five of which are at the compact home ground Turner, who in May signed a contract extension through to 2023, enjoys playing at.
“I started out with Salford when they were at The Willows, where the crowd were close to the pitch and you could hear what fans were shouting,” said the man who missed out on a return to Huddersfield on Tuesday when the Giants forfeited the fixture and Castleford were awarded a 24-0 win.
“I’m a bit of a traditionalist, and I’ve always loved the old grounds like Castleford and Wakefield which have that same feel and are steeped in history.
“I’ve often played at Castleford when the fans are in full voice, but up until this season, it’s always been with the opposition.
“Now I have the chance to play with the supporters getting behind me and my team, and it’s a great experience.”
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