Mossop: Cup Final will make up for Grand Final misery

Ben Cross and Lee Mossop tackle Chris Flannery in the game against  St Helens in the Challenge Cup semi final
Ben Cross and Lee Mossop tackle Chris Flannery in the game against St Helens in the Challenge Cup semi final

LEE Mossop admits a trip to Wembley for the Challenge Cup final will more than make up for the heartache of missing last year’s Super League Grand Final.

The Wigan prop was again a stand-out performer during the semi-final victory over St Helens, coming second-top of the tackle count and making more metres than any of the forwards despite spending a chunk of the game on the bench.

Mossop appears nailed-on for a spot in the 17 for the Wembley showdown against Leeds on August 27, but he won’t be counting any chickens after a shoulder problem caused him to miss Wigan’s Old Trafford triumph last term.

He told the Evening Post: “I promised myself after missing out on the Grand Final last year that if we got back to another final nothing would stop me from getting out there.

“Hopefully I can keep my performance levels up until the end of the season, because playing at Wembley would be massive for me.

“It would be the greatest day of my life. You never know when the chance will come round again and no-one wants to miss out on that.

“We know we’ve got to take care of these next two games before we can think of Wembley, and the players have to put in two good performances to even be considered.

“If you don’t play well here, you’re not in the team the week after – that’s the secret behind our form over the last couple of years.

“And I’m determined to keep working hard because I know what’s like to miss out.”

While Mossop, 22, is only just starting his career, it could be a last chance of Wembley glory for the likes of Andy Coley and Paul Deacon – not to mention coach Michael Maguire, who returns to the NRL at the end of the season.

“We wanted to do it for Madge in his last season – that’s been in everyone’s mind throughout the year,” added Mossop.

“We’ve got some big games in the league coming up – Salford next week and then Bradford the week after – but Madge won’t let our minds wander too far ahead.

“We’ve only got a couple of weeks to keep the momentum going until the final, and hopefully we can finish the job at Wembley.”

Mossop also believes Wigan have earned their Wembley spot the hard way.

“It goes without saying Saints are our biggest rivals, so to beat them in the semi-final was extra special,” he said.

“To have beaten Warrington in the quarter-final shows how tough we’ve done it – and now we need to finish the job against Leeds.”