Crabtree hungry for revenge

Eorl Crabtree is hoping it will be third time lucky for Huddersfield Giants in the Carnegie Challenge Cup this season.

The England prop has played in two losing finals for the Giants, who host holders Warrington in a fifth round tie on Saturday, when last season’s Wembley rivals will go head to head.

“I don’t need reminding that I’ve lost twice,” said Crabtree, who admits the Giants are hungry for revenge after their 25-16 defeat by the Wolves last August.

“The Challenge Cup is unbelievable and I feel privileged to have appeared in two finals. The build-up is sensational and the players are treated like royalty.

“It was one of the biggest days of my life when we played St Helens at Twickenham in 2006. It was Huddersfield’s first Cup final for 44 years and to run out in front of 65,000 fans was mind-blowing.

“Unfortunately a great St Helens side put us to the sword and we were thumped 42-12. It was hard to take even though we weren’t expected to win.”

Crabtree, 27, says it was different against Warrington last season.

“In some ways it was more enjoyable because I was more mature and had already sampled the final atmosphere,” he said. “I was able to take it all in more and we were more confident we could win.

“Unfortunately we didn’t and that was harder to take because our expectations were higher than against Saints.

“It was a massive blow losing Kevin Brown with a knee injury and that disrupted our side.

“We had no-one to replace him because he’s so valuable to our team.

“We didn’t finish last season too well after that and perhaps we peaked too early in 2009.”

The 6ft 7ins, 19-stone prop, adds:”Hopefully we can time our run into top form better this season.

“We have a stronger squad than last year and have the depth to compensate for injuries to Brett Hodgson and Shaun Lunt.

“Brett Cudjoe has been brilliant for us this season and can slot in at full-back.

“David Fa’alago and Lee Gilmour have been there and done it and Brad Drew is back at a crucial time. Graeme Horne and Scott Grix have also settled in well so we are in a better position depth-wise than most clubs.

“We played our best rugby of the season in the first half to beat Hull KR 40-12 in the last round and know we have to repeat that form against Warrington.

“We would have preferred to have drawn one of the poorer sides because Warrington are now justifiably ranked one of the top Super League clubs.

“Revenge is always sweet and last year’s Wembley defeat will definitely make us more determined on Saturday.”

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