CUP final king Brett Delaney was a surprise first try scorer in Leeds Rhinos’ 50-0 rout of Hull KR – to himself as much as anyone else.
Delaney, making his fifth Challenge Cup final appearance – a record for an Aussie – dabbed the ball down after it had been stripped from Jamie Peacock as he forced his way over just five minutes into the game.
That set Rhinos on course for the biggest winning margin in Challenge Cup final history and Delaney said: “I must have been 1,000-1 for first try – I don’t think anyone in the world had that on!
“I grabbed it off JP’s back – I just thought ‘I’ll grab that just in case’. It paid off and it was good to claim my first try at Wembley. JP has claimed the assist!”
Rhinos led 16-0 at the break and ran in six more tries – for a total of nine – in the second half.
Delaney said: “For the first 20 minutes or so it was a bit of a battle and after half-time we just kicked away.
“With 20 minutes to go we just kicked on and it was pleasing to see. We had a game plan and we stuck to it quite well. Conditions changed a bit and that might have played a part, but it was good to get the win. I can’t stop smiling.”
Rhinos have already turned their attention to Friday’s visit of St Helens in the First Utility Super-8s, according to Delaney.
He added: “We set a goal at the start of the season – we want to win all three trophies and that’s one of them.
“It is just pleasing – there’s a few blokes retiring at the end of the year and it’s good to send them off the way we want to, but the job’s not done yet. We’ve got a game on Friday and we want to kick on. It’s tough, last year our form dropped after the Cup final and we don’t want to do that again. There’s big emphasis on finishing the season well – there’s two more trophies to go and we want to win them.”
Another try scorer, Brad Singleton, made his first appearance in a major final, but his initial thought was for the man who missed out, Jimmy Keinhorst.
“It is tough to get left out,” Singleton said. “Me and Mitch Achurch did it last year, but it does make it sweeter this time round and the way we won the game was awesome.
When I was told I was playing, it was just a relief.
I’ve been attending finals since I was nine and I know what it’s like to miss out.”
Singleton crashed over from close range for his Wembley touchdown, which was confirmed by the video referees and opened a 28-0 lead just before the hour.
He said: “My first thought was, I hope he gives this. The second thought was, we have to go on from here.
“I think it’ll take a couple of days and then I’ll think ‘Jeez, I’ve scored at Wembley’!”