Huddersfield winger Jermaine McGillvary says winning the Challenge Cup would put an end to questions about the wisdom of his loyalty to his hometown club.
England international McGillvary, who turns 34 next week, has been with the Giants since he was 19. In that time spurned offers from other clubs, both in Super League and Australia.
That loyalty will be rewarded when he runs out with the Giants in the cup final against Wigan at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 28.
Speaking after their 25-4 semi-final win over Hull KR, McGillvary said: “It feels surreal. I’ve been here a very long time and never been in a major final.
“I experienced it a little bit with England in the World Cup final but never with my club. I’m over the moon.
“I haven’t got long left in my career now, I’m at the back end, so to experience that will be amazing.
“But we’ve not done anything yet. We’ve got to a final which is good but it means nothing if we don’t go on and win it.”
Jermaine McGillvary: I don’t regret not leaving Huddersfield
McGillvary was working in a warehouse when he was offered the chance to turn professional but he had to be patient, having to spend time on loan to Batley and Barrow before earning his chance in Super League.
He was a spectator when Huddersfield reached Wembley in 2009, losing to Warrington. He is excited at the prospect of helping the club end a 69-year wait to get their hands on the trophy.
McGillvary said: “It’s massive for the town. I remember in ’09 when we got to the final and we were heading down with the reserve team boys, stopping off at service stations, just how rammed they were (with fans), the noise they were making was amazing.
“Just stood in the crowd watching was so good and I’m just excited at the thought of actually playing.
“I’ve had opportunities in the past to leave but I just felt loyal. I was nobody when I first started off. They gave me a chance and it’s not like I’ve been poorly paid either.
“It’s not something I regret. If we win it, it probably justifies it. If we don’t, people will still be asking why I stayed so long. When I’ve finished playing, I’ll probably be able to answer those questions.”