Castleford coach Daryl Powell will draw on his club’s history in the Challenge Cup and the magic of Wembley to get his his side in the right mood for this weekend’s showdown with St Helens.
It is 35 years since Castleford enjoyed the last of their four Cup final triumphs and Powell, who will join Super League rivals Warrington at the end of the season, says victory on Saturday would provide a fairytale finish to his eight-time reign at his hometown club.
Powell was a player with Sheffield Eagles in 1986 but he went down to Wembley as a Castleford supporter to watch them beat Hull KR 15-14 and he has invited two survivors from that team to address his players before they set off for London on Thursday.
Powell said: “If I could have said right at the start of the year what could be the most special thing that could happen this year it would be winning the Challenge Cup.
“It’s an iconic competition, it’s iconic in Castleford’s history. We look back at 35, 69, 70 and 86 and we want to leave our own legacy. For me it would be super special, I can’t put into words quite how much that would mean.
“We want to be able to help our supporters remember it forever and you remember it forever if you win it.
“Wembley is embedded in the sporting psyche and history of the club. You look at last night and the England game, Wembley means something completely different to people.
“It’s such a special time for fans, walking down Wembley, it’s a feeling like nothing else. It’s just unbelievable as a sporting showpiece.”
Powell, a Cup winner with Leeds in 1999, guided Castleford to the 2014 in his first full season after taking over as head coach, and says he has learned the lessons from that 23-10 defeat by the Rhinos.
“I think I tried to play it down and keep a lid on it,” he said. “In hindsight that was a bit of a mistake.
“We want to enjoy the experience and be excited by the challenge. That’s one of the biggest messages I’ve given to the players this time. We’re going to enjoy the week and everything that it stands for.”