Warrington Wolves hope to put their poor Super League form behind them as they head into their first Challenge Cup final in 19 years against Huddersfield Giants.
Smith hopes for cup tonic as Wolves face off against the Giants
Warrington Wolves hope to put their poor Super League form behind them as they head into their first Challenge Cup final in 19 years against Huddersfield Giants at Wembley today. Despite recording only one win from their last six matches, and putting their play-off place in jeopardy, the Wolves coach Tony Smith is confident his team will rise to the prestigious occasion. "Our form hasn't been great in the last couple of weeks. We haven't been pleased with what we've been producing, but we have had some disruption with injuries. We've had to put out players who are not 100 per cent," he said.
"Sometimes when you get form like we've got, it galvanises you as a team. We've been able to do that at times this year and turn things around quickly." As Warrington's injury troubles continue, hooker Jon Clarke was the latest Wolves player consigned to the stands after failing to recover from an ankle knock. Clarke will be replaced by Mickey Higham, despite the former Wigan hooker being sidelined since May with a ruptured bicep.
While a tight match is expected at Wembley today, Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown is backing his side's superior fitness to give them the edge over their Warrington rivals. "We anticipate every game to be close," said Brown ahead of the Giants' second final in four years. "We are going out there to put ourselves in a position to stay in the game and back our fitness to get ourselves a victory. "We know they're a very talented side and we're going to have to play well. They're pretty strong all across the park. "
With forward Andy Raleigh left out of Huddersfield's 19-man squad, Brown will replace injured second rower Danny Kirmond with Martin Aspinwall. The 27-year-old, who was a try scorer in the Giants' 42-12 defeat by Saints in the 2006 final at Twickenham, got the nod over Simon Finnigan. * With agencies Huddersfield v Warrington, KO 5.30pm, Showsports 3