When Thomas Minns walks out on the Wembley turf, he will fulfil a childhood dream 26 years in the making.
The Featherstone centre grew up following Leeds, and used to go watching the Rhinos at Wembley during his younger days with a burning ambition of one day getting to play at the national stadium.
Rovers face York in the 1895 Cup final at Wembley on July 17, when Minns will achieve his boyhood dream.
He said: “I’ve said to my partner and the players that I can’t believe we’re off to Wembley.
“Not everyone gets to play at that stadium. It is one of the best stadiums in the UK.
“When I was younger I used to go and support Leeds Rhinos as a kid and go down with the academy boys, so to go from that to actually playing there is just something I can’t wait to do.
“I used to meet my brothers and sisters down there when we used to go Wembley when I was younger so it will be special walking out there. To walk about Wembley will be an unbelievable feeling.”
Earlier this season, Minns played his first game in more than 1,000 days following a drugs ban. In his time away from the game, he used his personal experiences of suffering with depression and anxiety to become a motivational speaker following his mother’s passing in 2017.
And Minns can’t wait to share his special day with his loved ones.
He said: “When I was driving home from dropping my little boy off in Manchester, I was driving back down the M62 and I had a little moment where I said a few words in my car to the people who are no longer here.
“I was just saying ‘grandma, we are off to Wembley’ and although they won’t be there in person, they’ll definitely be there in presence.
“When I scored the first try back against Bradford in my first game back… As weird as it sounds, I just felt the presence of them all around me when I scored that. It meant the world. I’ll definitely be looking up to the sky for them to be with me that day when I walk out at Wembley.
“It will be four years ago next month from when I lost my mum and at that moment you don’t think about the future, you just think about what was going on there and then and all I could see was dark clouds everywhere I looked. I say that now as I’m looking out of my kitchen window and it is just full of greenery and happiness and that’s what life ends up being.
“It is just about sticking with it and eventually those tough times will disappear and I can’t believe I’m off to Wembley. Even last year in the pandemic, I think I probably thought that I had been out too long but this year I’ve played every single game barring two for Covid. I really put the hard work in and looked at the positive things in life rather than the negatives. Now I’m here going to Wembley and I just can’t believe it really.”