England skipper Jamie Peacock is all too aware of the agonies and ecstasies of the Carnegie Challenge Cup as he, along with Keith Senior, is the only player in the Leeds side who has tasted the joy of lifting the famous Cup.
Peacock, who won it twice with Bradford, also knows what it’s like to lose and was forced to watch last year’s final defeat from the sidelines.
Peacock suffered a serious knee injury two weeks before the Wembley final and had to sit and suffer as he watched his Leeds team-mates crash out in a 30-6 defeat to holders Warrington Wolves. This time around, Peacock is determined to stay fit and healthy and try and make amends for last year’s double disappointment by firstly seeing off Hull FC in Sunday’s televised quarter-final (3.30pm) and then staying on course for a return to the capital.
“I got to the final three years out of four with Bradford, winning it twice, and you think you will keep getting there but it’s eight years since my last final,” said Peacock. “Leeds got there last year but I was injured so I’d love to get back there. Last year was tough.
“It’s hard enough to lose and especially in that manner and it was difficult to take and to watch, but I know it was harder for the players involved. I knew two weeks before that I wasn’t going to play, after I got the results of the scan, so I had time to get used to it. I would have loved to have been out there at Wembley, but it wasn’t to be.
“But it makes me more determined to get back there and try and win the Challenge Cup this year. It has been a long wait for me.”
Leeds go head-to-head with Hull FC at the KC Stadium on Sunday just a week after beating them 20-0 at Headingley Carnegie in Super League. Last year, the two sides also met in the League and in the fourth round of the Cup on successive weeks, with the Rhinos triumphing both times but Peacock has warned his team-mates to be wary of reading too much into previous form or results.
“It’s just coincidence that we meet them twice and these things tend to happen in sport,” he said. “But sometimes teams get more out of a loss than a win so we know we will have to play better to beat Hull than we did last week.
“It is more about attitude and desire going into the game than the performance but if we continue with the same attitude then it gives us a good chance.”
Peacock has won virtually everything in his trophy-laden career but admits the lack of a Challenge Cup winners medal with Leeds is a blot on his record book.
“I still want to win something with England but domestically a Cup winners medal for Leeds is the only thing that’s missing,” he said. “The Cup has got a great tradition, especially for the older players who grew up watching finals at Wembley. I’d love to get there and win the Cup for Leeds and for the Leeds fans because they are great supporters.”
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