Warrington Wolves’ hometown hero Danny Walker details emotional drive spurring him on to achieve Wembley glory

Louis Chapman Coombe

Warrington Wolves hooker Danny Walker will run out at Wembley for the first time in his career on Saturday, and it will be a special day for so many reasons.

Walker’s boyhood club last tasted silverware in the 2019 Challenge Cup final against St Helens, but it has been a difficult period for the club in the years since.

The Wolves have not reached a major final since that last day out at Wembley five years ago, and were nearly relegated from Super League altogether in 2022 as they finished 11th in the table under Daryl Powell’s tutelage.

After another rollercoaster campaign last term which ended with play-off disappointment, Walker and his team-mates have stepped up in 2024, winning nine of their first 13 league games to sit 4th and delivering a return to the national stadium.

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‘I’m more than excited for the game’

“I’m trying to not play the game too early in my head,” Walker told Love Rugby League.

“It’s my first proper final, so I’m not trying to play the game too early, but I’m more than excited for the game. I just can’t wait for it now.

“In terms of your prep, nothing really changes. It just adds a little bit more special feeling to it. At the end the day, you’re going there to win some silverware.

“It certainly feels different, but the way we go into it is not going to change.”

As evidenced by the results they’ve achieved so far this year, things are looking up for the Cheshire outfit.

The introductions of head coach Sam Burgess and assistant Martin Gleeson have transformed their fortunes on the pitch, and Walker admits the players are relishing being able to learn from that duo.

“The way we’ve been playing this year, everyone’s bought into the Warrington way and how it makes people like myself feel.

“It’s same with anyone that plays for their hometown club, it feels extra special; and it’s certainly going to be that way this weekend, not just for myself but for my family.”

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‘It’s going to be a really special occasion for myself and the family and for everyone involved’

This game represents a huge moment in Walker’s personal career. The Warringtonian grew up supporting the club, enjoying numerous trips to Wembley, and was part of the travelling squad for the 2019 triumph as a teenager.

But having not played in that 2019 success, the now-24-year-old will this weekend get the chance to run out onto the hallowed turf in the capital for the first time, and he knows how much that will mean to his family.

“I spoke to my Dad before the semi-final, and he said all he wants to do is one day see me walk out at Wembley,” he said.

“After the game (semi-final against Huddersfield Giants), he was the first person I wanted to see, because we ended up winning that one.

“It’s going to be a really special occasion for myself and the family and for everyone involved.”

It isn’t just his parents that will be at the forefront of Walker’s mind going into the game. Walker has two young children, and he spoke about how everything he does is for them.

“I’ve got a two-year-old and a 10-week old baby. Having kids has probably changed me a lot. I used to go into it and do it for myself. I still do, but now I do it more for them.

“Everything I do is for my kids, I want them to have the best upbringing possible. I certainly love being a Dad.”

This could arguably be Warrington’s best chance at silverware for some years. They come into Saturday’s final in red-hot form, with four wins from their past five games in all competitions.

That loss can also fill Sam Burgess with confidence too, as he played a rotated side against a strong Wigan Warriors team, and only lost 19-18.

Is it finally Warrington’s year?

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