JACK IN THE BOX SEAT FOR FINAL
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