Adam Milner: Wembley experience can help Castleford Tigers in Challenge Cup final showdown with St Helens
Castleford Tigers stalwart Adam Milner hopes to put one of the biggest disappointments of his career to good use this weekend.
In 2014, Milner was part of Tigers’ Challenge Cup final squad, but not selected on the day.
After missing out on a Wembley appearance then, he can finally achieve that aim this weekend when Tigers take on St Helens.
Andt he forward reckons having been a part of things in the past will help him cope with the pressure on Saturday.
“I was involved in the team in 2014, but I was 18th man, so I was gutted to miss out,” he recalled.
“You still get the taste of everything that goes on and taking that experience will put me in good stead for the weekend.”
Milner reckons the club also learned valuable lessons seven years ago.
“The build-up starts weeks out,” he said.
“We were all new to it in 2014 and we didn’t know what was best.
“It is probably pressure you don’t realise is being put on the players.
“They have got it absolutely nailed on this time.”
Tigers were beaten by Leeds Rhinos in 2014 and lost to the same opponents in their only other major final of the summer era, the Super League decider three years later - though coach Daryl Powell did steer them to top spot in the table that season.
“It is something that has eluded us, getting a trophy for this squad under Powelly’s leadership,” Milner added.
“We got the league leaders’ shield in 2017 and we have been striving to win some major silverware and this would certainly be that.
“It has taken a few years to get back to a major final, but the pain and hurt we felt after the whistle at the Grand Final still burns inside and gives us that desire to get the job done this week.”
St Helens, the reigning Super League champions, will have something to say about that as they aim for their first Challenge Cup triumph since 2008.
Milner insisted he would put winning the Challenge Cup ahead of Super League on his list of targets, but reckons Saturday is the toughest-possible task.
Assessing the scale of the challenge facing Tigers in three days’ time, he said: “You have got to beat the best to be the best and St Helens are certainly that
“They have proved that over the last few years.
“They are one of the most decorated clubs in the history of the sport and for a club like Cas to knock them off in a big final would say something about what we have created here and what we have achieved.
“They are certainly the best team in the comp’.
“Defensively they are strong, they don’t leak too many tries.
“One to 17 has to be firing for us, we need nine out of 10 and 10 out of 10 performances from everyone.”
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