JACK IN THE BOX SEAT FOR FI­NAL

Daily Mirror - - CITYDESK - BY GARETH WALKER Rugby Lge Cor­re­spon­dent

THREE years ago Jack Hughes went to Wem­b­ley with Wi­gan, did the pre-match walk­a­bout and warm-up – then watched his side beat Hull FC from the stands.

The 24-year-old back rower was named 18th man as the Warriors edged past the Black and Whites 16-0 to lift the Chal­lenge Cup. But on Satur­day, Hughes – now a firm first choice for War­ring­ton – will play his full part as Tony Smith’s side look to land a fourth cup tri­umph in eight years.

Hughes said: “I was 18th man in 2013 with Wi­gan.

“You still get the ex­pe­ri­ence of go­ing down with the team, the ho­tels, train­ing on Wem­b­ley...

“But you’re so close, yet so far – you don’t get to play. I would have loved to have played, but I knew where I stood in the team at that time.

“At that time in my ca­reer I was the back-up back rower. If Har­ri­son Hansen or Liam Far­rell had been out I might have got a bench spot. But I knew with a fully-fit team I was just miss­ing out.

“I was only 21 years of age, and I just cracked on with the men­tal­ity that I would get my time again, and it is now with War­ring­ton. That taste of it adds to it all. I was there when Wi­gan won – I didn’t get to play, but I was there with them. “Now I want to ex­pe­ri­ence it hav­ing been out there with my team-mates, and want to cre­ate some his­tory of my own with this team.” Hughes (play­ing for Wi­gan in 2013, above) scored the dra­matic last-minute win­ner against Castleford at the week­end, and he be­lieves the gutsy Wolves dis­play will stand them in good stead at Wem­b­ley.

He added: “It wasn’t the best per­for­mance, but just pure de­sire won us that game and that’s def­i­nitely some­thing we’ll need on Satur­day.

“The lit­tle things like drop­ping the ball in at­tack you can fix up.

“But the char­ac­ter and de­sire is some­thing you have to dig deep for – and that’s what we need to come up with against Hull.”

WOLVES AT THE DOOR Hughes (left) and his War­ring­ton pals are ready to get their claws into Hull FC at Wem­b­ley

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