While the attention has been on a half-back set to miss Warrington’s Wembley date, for hometown boy Dec Patton the focus is on fulfilling a dream.
Patton, 24, is a product of the club’s academy and has racked up more than a century of appearances – but a winners medal still eludes him.
He played in the Super League Grand Final defeat to Wigan in 2016, was a frustrated onlooker at Wembley in the same year, and was on the bench as the Wolves lost to Catalans last season.
Patton said: “To win it with your home time club would be magical really.
“I’ve seen them do it as a fan. I used to get butterflies even then, so I wondered last year what it would be like to win, and we fell short.
“I’ve kept that in my mind, walking down them steps with a losers medal is probably one of them gut wrenching things, like walking past what you could have one.
“That bit hurt, and it might help us as a team. We don’t want to feel the same as we did after that 80 minutes last season.”
Patton is the only recognised half-back in Steve Price’s 19-man squad, with Blake Austin having failed to recover from an injury picked up in the recent league defeat to Catalans.
Stefan Ratchford is a likely candidate to partner him.
He added: “We are underdogs. They’ve been flying all year. As a club, we feel like the pressure’s off and we’ve got to let form go out the window and enjoy ourselves come Saturday.
“If you look at our team, there are a lot of players who have played in finals, so probably know how to keep your head focused, and not be overwhelmed.
“We’ve just got to hope that together as a team, we get our basics right, and just do it for each other, and we will see whether we come out on top.”
It’s St Helens’ first Challenge Cup final since 2008 and their first final since they won the 2014 Super League Grand Final against Wigan.