Challenge Cup Preview: Huddersfield

Huddersfield centre Jamahl Lolesi has praised coach Nathan Brown for guiding the Giants to the Carnegie Challenge Cup final against Warrington.

Brown has also overseen an improvement in Huddersfield’s engage Super League form.

Lolesi credits Brown for turning things around after a poor 2008 season that saw previous coach Jon Sharpe sacked by the club.

“I never thought in my wildest dreams we could do this in such a short period, after the trouble we had internally last year,” he said.

“We’ve exceeded expectations but we’ve worked really hard. If we win it won’t be any fluke. The work’s been done on and off the field.

“We haven’t got the best roster, you could say we haven’t got the best players, but we work hard for each other and that is how you win games.

“[Brown is] best coach I’ve ever had and I’ve played under some good ones. His man-management is second to none and he is honest with the players.

“He has given me more than a couple of roastings – I think I’m his favourite player to give a bit of a slap on the wrist to – but maybe that spurs me on a little bit. He’s a great coach.”

Huddersfield last reached the final in 2006 when they were beaten by St Helens at Twickenham, and last won the Challenge Cup in 1953 when they beat the Saints 15-10.

Lolesi believes the Giants will have to work as hard as ever if they want to defeat the Wolves in Saturday’s game and claim what would be their seventh Challenge Cup triumph.

“Warrington are a great team,” he said. “They can score at any time from anywhere on the pitch. We have got our work cut out. There’s not much between us and it’ll be a close game.”

Huddersfield forward Eorl Crabree is looking forward to continuing a family history of Wembley appearances: his grandfather Shirley played there for Halifax in 1931 and his uncle wrestled there as “Big Daddy”.

“To go to Wembley and win would be a dream come true,” said Crabtree. “There is a lot of history there for me personally, and it is something I have always thought about.

“My uncle and my grandad were there, so I get to follow suit. It’s fantastic for me to follow in their footsteps.

“My grandad went down to Wembley with Halifax. He didn’t actually play but he went down and got a Challenge Cup winners’ medal. I hope I can get one as well.

“I don’t know anything about my uncle being there – it was a bit before my time – but I know he went to Wembley, and that’s all that matters.”

Route to the final:

Fourth Round: Harlequins 16-42 Huddersfield
Fifth Round: Huddersfield 38-12 Rochdale
Quarter Final: Huddersfield 16-14 Castleford
Semi Final: Huddersfield 24-14 St Helens

Form: WWWWLL

Against Warrington:

This season:
26th April: Warrington 40-18 Huddersfield
19th July: Huddersfield 28-10 Warrington

Cup finals:
1913: Huddersfield 9-5 Warrington (Headingley)
1933: Huddersfield 21-17 Warrington (Wembley)

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