Ward hoping for Wembley reward

Teenager Stevie Ward is hoping he’s done enough to earn himself a spot in the Leeds team for the Challenge Cup final and the Wembley experience on Saturday week.

Ward, 18, opted to withdraw from the recent England Academy tour of Australia to fight for his place in the Rhinos team, and his selection chances have been boosted this week by the news that Danny McGuire is out through injury.

He said: “Getting to play at Wembley in a Challenge Cup final would mean everything to me, especially after pulling out of the England tour.

“To walk out at Wembley at 18 and play in a Cup final would be absolutely breath-taking and that first whistle would be unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.

“Pulling out of the tour was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make. Going into the semi-final against Wigan I hadn’t made a decision about what I was going to do and when we came away with a great win in that match I was left with a very tough decision.

“That semi-final sealed it for me though because to be involved with this special group of players and be in with a chance of fighting for a place at Wembley is something I didn’t want to miss.”

The Rhinos travel to Wembley for a third consecutive appearance in the Cup final, having lost to Wigan in 2011 and this year’s opponents Warrington in the 2010 final but Ward says that the team are not focusing on past defeats.

Ward added: “There has been no talk about the past few years or any type of revenge against Warrington for the defeat in 2010. It’s a different year and we’re only talking about what we can achieve this season and not about what’s happened in the past and we’re all confident that we can get the win next Saturday.”

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