Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith has described winning the Challenge Cup as an addictive feeling – and says he’s eager to taste glory again this weekend.
Smith, who has coached Warrington to three victories in the competition – as well as suffering the heartbreak of losing in the final, too – will lead the Wolves out at the national stadium again on Saturday as they bid for a first Challenge Cup title since 2012 when they face Hull FC.
And the Wolves coach told TotalRL that he’s honoured to be involved with what is arguably the sport’s showpiece event once again, describing what it is like to get his hands on that cup come the end of the tournament.
“The first successful final is a bit surreal. You don’t think about anything too much, it just all passes you quickly,” he said.
“My memories aren’t great of the first win. I’m privileged enough to have a couple of them with Warrington, and the following year was easier to enjoy.
“You’re over that surreal sort of feel and take in some of what’s going on around you. It’s a great honour to be part of it and I don’t think you ever get tired of it – it’s a buzz that anyone who’s been a part of it would want to be again.
“It’s an addictive feeling and I’ve had the misfortune as well of taking a team to the final at Cardiff and losing, to Hull, when I was at Leeds. We were leading until the last few minutes and then lost, and that was heartbreaking. I probably remember that more than the first victory – the hurt and disappointment when that happens.”
And as a converted-Brit by his own admission, Smith admits he’s honoured to be so heavily involved with a competition that is clearly dear to his heart.
“I didn’t play in the Challenge Cup in the year I had at Workington, and we wouldn’t have lasted too long anyway with the team that we had then.
“My first real involvement was at Huddersfield and I was proud to be part of that even though we were a weak team back then.
“It was nice to be finally part of the Challenge Cup and I felt privileged then – so to then go on and be part of some squads that have played in the final is beyond belief.”