Ash Handley dedicates Challenge Cup final win to former team-mate

Two-try hero Ash Handley dedicated Saturday’s Challenge Cup final victory to a former team-mate who died of cancer.

The 24-year-old England Knights winger, who scored a try in each half of the Rhinos’ 17-16 win over Salford at Wembley, wiped away the tears as he remembered James Brook, a former team-mate at amateur club Oulton Raiders, who passed away in 2015.

“I did it for my family who have been there from day one, taking me to amateur games and watching every game, and for my dear friend who passed away,” he said.

“James was in the scholarship with me and he died of cancer when I was 18 or 19. I did it for him and his family as well.”

Handley’s family were unable to attend the game, which was played behind closed doors due to restrictions introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic, but that could not dampen his delight.

“It’s a shame they couldn’t be there because of what’s going on,” he said. “My grandma always said it was her wish to watch me at Wembley but she got to watch me on TV and the main thing is we won.

“I’m buzzing to get my first medal, it will be the first of many hopefully.”

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