Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook moved 200 miles away from home in search of silverware, but he’s praying that he’ll now find that precious medal virtually back on his own doorstep.
Londoner McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 25, quit Harlequins for St Helens at the end of last season to help him achieve both individual and team honours after five fruitless years in the city and now just months later, the England forward is convinced the gamble was worth it, with a first-ever trip to Wembley just 160 minutes away.
Saints face Hull KR in the Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter-final at their temporary home in Widnes’ Stobart Stadium on Sunday (3.00pm) and the prop is determined that neither Rovers or their semi-finals opponents will prevent him from achieving his ambition.
“Every kid who grows up in London dreams of playing football and running out at Wembley,” said McCarthy-Scarsbrook. “I wasn’t good enough to make it as a footballer but hopefully I can get there for Rugby League and that will be just as good.
“It will be a pleasure to go back to London and run out at Wembley as a Saints player and hopefully win the Challenge Cup.”
Passionate Millwall supporter McCarthy-Scarsbrook added: “I love my football and it’s hard not being able to watch Millwall as much now I live in the north. Mind you, I see a lot more Arsenal and Chelsea supporters up here than you do in London!”
McCarthy-Scarsbrook didn’t even know Rugby League existed when he was 13 and Quins, as the London Broncos, last reached the Challenge Cup final. Even when Saints won it in 2001 and 2004, McCarthy-Scarsbrook still knew little about a sport that he would eventually come to love.
“Harlequins took me on in 2004 but I still didn’t know much about Rugby League and didn’t take it seriously,” he said. “It was only in 2006, when I watched Saints beat Huddersfield in the Cup final on TV, that I got bitten by the sport and became really keen.
“I loved my time at Quins but I never won much because Quins weren’t doing that well. I think the only thing I’ve ever won is a Blue Peter badge. That’s why I have done the big move away because I want to win things.”
McCarthy-Scarsbrook reached the quarter-finals with Quins in 2007, where they got knocked out by Wigan, but this year he is convinced he can finally make it to the last four at least.
“Two of the big four teams have been drawn together so one of the big four is definitely going out,” he said. “Hull KR are a good team and they’ve picked up some form recently and it’s going to be a tough and interesting tie. But we are at home where we get great support.
“Every club, no matter how big or small, wants to win the Cup but a club the size of Saints always have their eye on winning it and I know how much it means to these players.
“The Cup used to always belong to Saints and hopefully this year we can bring it back again. I will be chuffed if we win it – that will be a great start to my Saints career.”
Sunday July 24
St Helens v Hull Kingston Rovers
Stobart Stadium Halton (3.00pm)
Tickets for the 2011 Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 27 costs from £21 to £76 and are selling fast. Last year’s final was a sell-out and fans are advised to move quickly to secure their seat at the historic showpiece final. To book tickets call 0844 856 1113 or visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk
For more information about the Carnegie Challenge Cup visit www.carnegiechallengecup.co.uk