25th August 2017, 17:36 | Hull
Hull FC player Danny Houghton is determined to help his side secure back-to-back Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final victories when they take on Wigan Warriors on Saturday at Wembley Stadium (3.00pm).
Last season, the Black and Whites lifted the Challenge Cup for the first time at Wembley Stadium and Houghton believes the team can build on last years’ experience to lift the trophy once again.
He said, “Although a couple of us had played in a final before, there had never been the same magnitude or the belief that we could win as there was last year.
“We’ve got the monkey off our backs now, so to speak, and that was massive for the club and that will go down in history.
“We’ve got the experience now and that will help especially with how to handle this week in general.
“I think the adrenaline you use pacing up and down, playing the game over and over before the whistle even goes drains you a little bit so we’ll learn from that experience and keep as relaxed as possible going in to the game and enjoy it.
“All the boys are buzzing and bouncing about, we’re looking forward to getting down there.”
At half-time of last year’s final, Hull FC were trailing by ten points but turned the game around to secure a 12-10 win.
The hooker played a vital part in the final moments of the game, with a try-saving tackle on Warrington’s Ben Currie.
Reflecting on last year’s game, he said, “There was nothing running through my head at that moment. All I could think about was getting air into my lungs and thankfully I had a little bit left in the tank to make that tackle. There was no thought process it was just instinctive.
“The turning point of the whole game though, when we really started to believe and get some wind beneath our sails, was when Marc Sneyd kicked that 40/20.
“We started to realise then that Warrington looked like they were fatiguing and that play really dented them and we got the try.
“That turned the game on its head and we got some real belief that we could win.”
Houghton made his first Challenge Cup final appearance in 2013 when his side were defeated 0-16 at a rain-soaked Wembley. He’s hoping that the Airlie Birds can put in a better performance when the two sides meet again on Saturday.
“It was a poor cup final, there was torrential rain and we didn’t really get out of the tracks and perform on the day. We definitely want to correct that 2013 game against Wigan.
“Wigan are a champion team though and they seem to time their runs every season, they get injuries but then all of a sudden have a full-strength team who are firing.
“The last few weeks they’ve had some really good results, they’re the cup kings as everyone knows and they’ll be throwing everything into this.
“Last Friday didn’t help in terms of our performance but we know on any given day that we turn it on and hopefully we can do that on Saturday. We know we’ll have to be right at the top of our game to be in with a chance.”
Watch the 2017 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final on BBC One and the BBC Sport website from 2pm on Saturday.