Wigan Warriors powerhouse Luke Thompson details ‘desperate’ quest for Challenge Cup redemption

Ben Olawumi
Luke Thompson

Luke Thompson was beaten at Wembley with St Helens in 2019, and says that's a feeling he never wants to have to taste again...

Wigan Warriors forward Luke Thompson admits he’s ‘desperate’ to lift the Challenge Cup this weekend to help avenge memories of a defeat in the competition’s final in 2019 while donning the colours of St Helens.

Saturday afternoon will see Wigan take on Warrington Wolves under the famous arch, the same opponents that Thompson faced at the same venue five years ago.

En-route to the first of what would turn out to be four consecutive Grand Final triumphs, Saints went into that final as favourites, just as Wigan do this weekend.

But what played out was an entirely different story in 2019, with the Red V struggling to ever get into the contest after an early Morgan Knowles try wasn’t given. 18-4 was the final score, with Warrington lifting the cup and Thompson & co. left dejected.

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Wigan Warriors powerhouse Luke Thompson details ‘desperate’ quest for Challenge Cup redemption

Thompson would go on to leave Saints having won the Grand Final in 2019, spending three-and-a-half years Down Under in the NRL with Canterbury Bulldogs.

The 29-year-old was tempted back to Super League by the Warriors ahead of this season, penning a four-year deal, and admits that a ‘desperate’ desire to lift the Challenge Cup played a factor in that move home.

Speaking to LoveRugbyLeague on Monday afternoon at the pre-final media day, the Billinge-born powerhouse said: “It’s awesome for me to be in a Challenge Cup final in my first year back (in Super League).

“It’s one that I’m really desperate to win because I never won it at Saints. I lost one final to Warrington in 2019, so I’m definitely keen to get myself a Challenge Cup winners’ medal.

“These are the occasions you look for on the calendar, and if you’re fortunate enough to make it there, it’s great.

“It’s a good occasion for everyone involved – the club, the fans, our families and players as well, as long as you get the job done.

“These are the days that you’ll look back on after your career and the days you’ll really remember, especially if you win.

“We’ll be leaving no stone unturned this week and we’ll make sure we give it our best shot.”

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Thompson recalls 2019 Wembley heartbreak

Plenty of people over the years have said that Wembley is the best place to win, but the worst place to lose.

And while he hopes to attest to the former after this weekend, two-time Super League winner Thompson is certainly able to attest the latter already.

Recalling a heartbreaking August day, he detailed: “I was pretty depressed for a couple of weeks after I lost that one.

“We’d had a lot of injuries building up to it. I think Alex Walmsley hadn’t played since the semi-final, he had an eye injury, and Robes (James Roby) had been out for weeks.

“Our full starting forward pack had been out at some point, and we’d just got everyone back for that game.

“I remember the lads were a bit under done and it was a fast game, it was red hot, an electric atmosphere.

“It was the one where Morgan Knowles had that try chalked off, a bit of controversy there early on.

“It was a tough game after that and unfortunately, we just didn’t get the job done.”

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