Atkins dreaming of Wembley

Warrington centre Ryan Atkins has admitted he has Wembley on his mind as the Wolves prepare for Sunday’s televised Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter-final against Bradford Bulls at Grattan Stadium.

Atkins was a frustrated spectator when Warrington lifted the Cup at Wembley last year but the 24-year-old is determined to play his part in the Wolves’ bid to win back-to-back finals for the first time in their history.

“There are two main things I want to achieve. Playing for my country is one of them and I’ve already done that,” said Atkins, who joined Warrington at the end of last season from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

“The other is to win some silverware and I’d love it if that came in the Challenge Cup.

“I watched the Cup final on TV. I was shouting and screaming and wondering why I couldn’t have signed for them earlier so I could have been part of it!”

A former Bradford Academy player, Atkins endured a tough time at Odsal and admitted that the experience left him with a sour taste in his mouth after failing to make an impact in the Bulls’ first team.

The England international said: “I don’t want to sound big headed but I was playing well in the under-21s. Steve McNamara was the 21s coach and he was my mentor and I thought I was doing well.

“But, after a chat with then head coach Brian Noble, I knew I wasn’t going to get in the first team.

“It was a disappointment, definitely, but I needed to get out of there and I went to Wakefield and it all worked out from there.

“I got picked to play for England and now I’m at Warrington and hoping to help them defend the Challenge Cup.”

The in-form centre scored two tries 33-8 victory against the Bulls in March and believes that the Wolves will need to put in another clinical display if they are to progress to the semi-finals.

Atkins said: “It will be a tough challenge but we are looking forward to it,”

“We had a pretty tough game against them earlier in the season but we played well to win. If we want to win the Cup we’ve got to play the best so why not sooner rather than later.”

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