Sam Powell as hungry as ever as he prepares for 200th game for Wigan Warriors

Sam Powell will chalk up a special milestone this weekend – hoping the occasion isn’t soured by another taste of what could have been.
Sam Powell scores a try against CatalansSam Powell scores a try against Catalans
Sam Powell scores a try against Catalans

The dependable hooker is in line to play his 200th game for his hometown club this Saturday.

Since his breakthrough in 2012, the 28-year-old has won two Grand Finals and a World Club Challenge with Wigan – and become a key figure in the team.

But, so far, the Challenge Cup has eluded him.

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The closest he has gone to getting his hands on the famous old trophy was in the 2017 final defeat against Hull FC – who are Wigan’s opponents in Saturday’s quarter final (5pm kick-off). “It’s my one regret – maybe not a regret – but it leaves a sour taste, definitely,” said the tough-tackling No.9.

“We played Hull in ‘17 and, no disrespect to them, but we didn’t perform as well as we could have done. I look back and think it’s the one that got away, really.

“We’ve got a great opportunity this weekend to put it right.

“As a team, I think we’re good enough to go on and win it. We don’t want to have any regrets when it’s done.”

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Wigan and Hull both scored three times in an entertaining final three years ago, but Shaun Wane’s outfit were edged out as Tony Clubb and Joe Burgess both had tries ruled out by the officials.

“When I watched it back, I didn’t feel hard done by,” said Powell.

“Because we didn’t play well enough. I kicked a ball out on the full, we did other things which we could have done a lot better.”

The build-up to Saturday’s BBC-televised match will take on extra significance for the academy-product as he marks his double century for Wigan.

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“They are special milestones, especially with my background and playing amateur rugby here and supporting Wigan, it’s a big honour for me and as much for my family,” he said.

“My grandad got me into rugby and my mum and dad, they sacrificed a lot – as every parent does – to let me play the game, because they knew how much I enjoyed it.

“Then when I got to Wigan, all my coaches have helped me enormously.

“So this isn’t just for me, it’s for everyone who has helped me along the way.”

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Wigan certainly looked like trophy contenders last weekend, producing a dominant display against Catalans, despite an exhaustive journey to get to the south of France which began with a 5am alarm call and ended with a 2am arrival back home the following day.

“I think whoever goes on and wins the trophies will be the sides who can adapt the best, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” added Powell.

“If players drop out, if you have to get up at 5am, whatever happens, whatever challenges it throws, you’ve just got to roll with it and that’s our attitude.”

As for Hull, they secured their quarter-final spot with a 29-16 win against Castleford on Sunday.

Powell added: “Hull can be hit and miss but I think everyone knows that on their day they’re as good as anyone, and that’s the side we’re preparing for.”