TEN YEARS after claiming his only major trophy, Brett Ferres is targeting a repeat performance.
Ferres was at the start of his career when he played as a substitute in Bradford Bulls’ 2006 World Club Championship victory over Wests Tigers.
A decade later he is an experienced England international and will be a key figure for Leeds Rhinos if they are to upset Australian champions North Queensland Cowboys at Headingley tomorrow.
“All through my career I have been trying to find some silverware,” said Ferres, who joined Leeds last month from Huddersfield Giants after previous spells with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Castleford Tigers. “The move to Leeds has given me a great opportunity for that and to start with a World Club Challenge is fantastic.”
Bradford thrashed Wests 30-6 in 2006 and Ferres recalled: “I was only about 19 at the time. Coming in and getting an opportunity like that was fantastic and it’s certainly something that’s lived with me and I have wanted to replicate for a long time.
“I am very lucky. You generally have to go through the whole season and the play-offs before you get an opportunity to be in a Grand Final or the Challenge Cup.
“To get an opportunity to lift a trophy so early in my Leeds career is fantastic.”
The odds are against Rhinos winning a record fourth world title tomorrow, after successive defeats in First Utility Super League and with a lengthy injury list.
“It is disappointing,” Ferres admitted of Rhinos’ start. “We had a fair old tussle against Warrington in the first game, but obviously the Widnes game wasn’t acceptable by anyone’s standards.
“To concede 50 points in that attitude and fashion was very disappointing and it’s not something you associate with Leeds. For us it is a fresh week and a fresh start. The silver lining is we get a really massive opportunity now to put things right.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than the Cowboys coming over here, so it is exciting for us.”
Rhinos will need a huge improvement from last week’s 56-12 defeat just to compete against the Australian champions.
“I think we just need a performance,” Ferres said. “We owe a performance to ourselves and Leeds as a club. It is exciting for us, we are looking forward to it. It is very unique, very different. The atmosphere around the place will be fantastic, so it is all about Sunday evening now.”
Injuries have dealt a significant blow and Ferres observed: “It is disappointing for those players that they don’t get an opportunity to play in a game like this. It is disappointing for us as a club, but we move on. We’ve got a very good squad here and a lot of quality. Some young kids will get an opportunity this week to really have an impact in a massive game.”
Despite the difficult start, Ferres is confident he made the right move by joining Leeds. He said: “I have loved every minute of it.
“Coming to a club like Leeds has been great. It is very professional and everything is done right. The boys have been great and the fans have been fantastic and welcoming. It has been a great move for me. It has been disappointing results wise, but everything else has been very positive.”
Considering his own form, Ferres added: “I thought I went all right against Warrington and despite the result last week I put a decent shift in and worked hard. That’s all I’ll do every week, work my hardest and do my best for 80 minutes and hope it is good enough.”