JUST 10 WEEKS ago, Mitch Garbutt was unable to get into Brisbane Broncos’ side.
Garbutt has been named as a starting prop in Leeds Rhinos’ team to face Hull KR in this afternoon’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final.
He only arrived in Leeds, after being released by Brisbane, two months ago this weekend and admitted Wembley is his field of dreams.
“It’s unbelievable, walking out on to a pitch like this. It’s breathtaking,” Garbutt said at yesterday eve-of-final walkabout.
“I don’t think I’ll really understand it until I am here on Saturday. It is going to be something special.
“The whole week’s been great and I am really excited about (today).
“I have enjoyed the week and it’s important to do that, but you have to be fully focused when it comes to the game.”
Garbutt said he has never had any regrets about joining Leeds, but today just makes the move even better.
“I was never worried about it being the wrong decision,” he stated. “But this has just hammered home the fact I am at the right place.”
The semi-final win over St Helens was Garbutt’s Cup debut. He said: “I can see how excited the boys are.
“I had only been here a few weeks when we played St Helens. It means a lot to the players and it is a big occasion.
“I can’t wait, it will be the biggest game of my life, hands down. I am lucky to have players like Mags (Danny McGuire), Kev (Sinfield), JP (Jamie Peacock) and Rob (Burrow) who’ve been around for a while.
“They are giving me a calm head and hopefully that’ll help.”
Garbutt is one of only four members of Rhinos’ side without Wembley experience, the others being Adam Cuthbertson, Mitch Achurch and Brad Singleton.
“I am not normally a nervous type of person,” he said. “I am sure there will be a few tomorrow, but the other boys will make sure I don’t get too worried about things.”
Today’s opponents Hull KR have not featured in a Challenge Cup final since 1986. They are 9-2 outsiders, but Garbutt said: “They are a good side.
“They have been in good form, they’ve beaten some good teams and they play a tough brand of footy.
“We are expecting a tough game.
“They have got a really big pack, so that’s a challenge for our forwards.”
The sun was beating down on yesterday’s walkabout and Garbutt admitted it could be a tough afternoon for the forwards if the weather is the same today.
“I am used to this type of weather, though I haven’t had it for a few weeks,” he said.
“Hopefully it will be a beautiful day for the final.”
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Garbutt, Cuthbertson, Peacock, S Ward, Ablett, Delaney. Subs Burrow, Leuluai, Achurch, Singleton.
Hull KR from: Allgood, Blair, Boudebza, Cockayne, Dixon, Donaldson, Green, Horne, Kelly, Larroyer, Lunt, McCarthy, Mantellato, Puletua, Salter, Sio, Tilse, Walker, Welham.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).
Kick-off: Today, 3.15pm.