Wakefield Trinity legend Neil Fox MBE believes the Wildcats can turn their season around by beating Leigh Centurions in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup on Sunday (2.15pm).
Fox lifted the trophy three times for Wakefield and secured his place in the history books in 1960 by scoring the most individual points in a final with 20, a total equalled by Iestyn Harris in 1999.
The former Great Britain centre has fond memories of Trinity’s glory days and says he is honoured to have such accolades to his name, including the Lance Todd Trophy from 1962.
“Every player wants to play at Wembley and I was lucky enough to go there three times and win on those three occasions,” said Fox. “The first final in 1960 against Hull, we scored the record number of points in a Challenge Cup final, with 38 to their 5 and I claimed the record number of individual points.
“When you come out of that tunnel, the roar of the crowd is so exciting. I had played test rugby before but never in front of a crowd like at Wembley, it was amazing.
“To lift that Cup is incredible, we went on to beat Huddersfield in 1962 and Wigan in 1963 and we very much went into that game as underdogs because I think nearly very Wigan player was an international. To beat Wigan that day was a feeling I can’t even explain.”
Wakefield have not been as fortune in recent years but Fox, who was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame in 1989, says that the supporters can get behind the team and carry them through to the quarter finals.
“To get to a final is not just fantastic for the players but for the club and the supporters as well,” said Fox. “Wakefield haven’t been there in a long time now and I know that they are really struggling in the league at the moment.
“They need a good Cup run, I don’t know if they’ll be able to lift themselves off the bottom of the Super League table but it is really important for the supporters to get behind them against Leigh.
“The days when I played at Belle Vue, we’d get 15,000 to 20,000 people there and that kind of support is tremendous. It means so much to the players and I know that the Wakefield fans are incredibly loyal and I’m sure they’ll get behind the team.”
Fox acknowledges that it is also going to take great mental strength to knock out ‘giant-killers’ Leigh and offered his advice to the Trinity players.
“Leigh of course knocked out Salford who are above us in the table so this game is not going to be easy,” said Fox. “I know James Webster will not be taking them lightly at all and will have the players fired up.
“Our coach always used to say to us, stop the other side from scoring and you’ll win the game. Wakefield have had a lot of points scored against them recently. If they can tighten up that defence, I know they can get through to the quarter-final and hopefully get a home draw.”