Ashton Sims has played rugby league at the top level for 14 years but never reached a major final. The Australian prop is desperate to end that drought on Saturday with a victory in the Challenge Cup final.
“I played when we lost to the Roosters in 2002 in the Jersey Flegg,” he reflects.
“That was the last taste of a grand final and it was quite a bitter feeling.”
Sims played in semi-finals with the Dragons, Broncos and Cowboys but never in the big one.
He left North Queensland at the end of 2014 for Warrington and the next year the Cowboys finally won their first NRL grand final, pipping Brisbane in golden-point thanks to a Jonathan Thurston field goal.
“The Cowboys got there without me last year and full credit to them,” he said.
“I knew they were on a winning thing there with Greeny [Paul Green] coming in as coach.
“I was so glad and so proud when they won and hopefully this year I can get a bit of that rub of the green.”
Sims has also played in two World Cup semi-finals, both losses, the last one coming at the venue for Saturday’s Cup final.
The 31-year old is looking forward to his return to Wembley and another chance at attaining some elusive silverware.
“Wembley is one of the homes of sports around the world. I got to play on it a couple of years ago against australia and I’d love to get the opportunity to play again and we have this saturday,” he said.
“It certainly won’t be taken for granted, not like it ever did last time.
“It’s just one of those iconic venues around the world that in 10-20 years time I get to look back and say ‘I’ve got to play there at least twice in front of 80-odd-000 screaming fans’.
“So hopefully better memories this time around.”