The Liam Farrell Column: Underdogs? Probably. But we are confident
You can sense the excitement in training.
On Tuesday, the coaches had to calm us down a couple of times, because we were getting a bit keen.
And that’s good. It shows we’re all looking forward to this one.
All the finals are special for their own reasons and, after the disruptions we’ve had – we’re fully aware we’ve not been firing every week – we’re in a great position to bring some more silverware back to the club.
We’re 80 minutes away from winning the Challenge Cup, and we’re very capable of doing that.
For many players, this will be their first game at Wembley, and there is something different about playing there than at Old Trafford.
The history of the competition gives it a different feeling – the club has a great history in the competition and we want to do it justice.
But the fact they’ve been in big games – Grand Finals, World Club Challenges – will help them enormously.
Which isn’t to say they won’t get nervous; I still get as nervous before a final as I did in 2010 before my first!
But the experience helps you deal with it, and channel the energy in the right way.
What do we need to do differently?
Nothing. There’s a risk if you try and do that.
You’ve got to do your own game, but just do it better. You need to step it up and see if the other team can come with you.
You don’t want to be forcing offloads and silly plays – in State of Origin, it’s often attrition, defending well, completing sets. It’s no secret both Hull FC and ourselves will be looking to do that.
Hull been very good all season, and we’re probably the underdogs – Hull have knocked-out Leeds and Castleford already in the competition.
Their wingers and full-back Jamie Shaul do well for them on plays one, two and three, and if they start getting a roll on, it gives them the position for Marc Sneyd to kick from – it can become a vicious circle. So we know their threats, but stopping them is a different story.
They’ll also have plenty of motivation, given they’re defending the Cup and also because it’s Gareth Ellis’ last appearance at Wembley.
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a few England camps with him and I think some people maybe take for granted how good he has been. He was player of the season three times in a row an at NRL club, which in itself is incredible.
I was a bit was surprised he decided to retire at the end of the season, I thought he would go around again, because he’s been playing well.
We know we’re capable of beating Hull, if we play how we know we can.
We played well against Salford last Friday – I’m not going to pretend they were at their best – but we nailed some things we wanted to, and that’s pleasing.
We defended really well and there were some nice finishes, too.
I’m comfortable with the combinations we’ve got on the left edge. We’re are all pretty laid-back lads and it seems to work well.
I wouldn’t say I can read George Williams every time – he still does things I’m not expecting – but I know his game better than when I first started playing alongside him!
Wembley is a big occasion for all of our families, as well as the players themselves.
I’ll have my mum, dad, brother, sister, wife Laura and son there – I’m not sure what my wage will be next month, after all these tickets! – and hopefully, we get the win.