From tears to cheers for Wigan Warriors winger Davies
Tom Davies has every right to be excited about the thought of playing at Old Trafford '“ after cruelly missing out on Wigan's last final appearance.
The winger is set to start on the left edge when the Warriors take on Warrington this Saturday evening.
It will be his first taste of a showcase decider after the tears of missing out on last year’s Challenge Cup final.
Davies was named in the side and on course to face Hull FC.
But during warm-up on the hallowed turf, a troubling ankle injured flared-up – and he made the painstaking decision to withdraw from the squad.
He recalled: “It was heartbreaking, I really wanted to play in that game.
“I’d injured my ankle on the Tuesday in training, and Waney was great, he said he’d give me until the warm-up to try and get it right.
“I was having treatment from 8am until 8pm, doing everything I can.
“I thought I’d be okay but during warm-up, there was about five minutes to go and it just wasn’t feeling right.
“Obviously losing a winger would be disrupt the team and I thought: ‘If I have to go off, and we lose I’ll never forgive myself’.
“I wanted to give the team the best shot, and I knew Marshy (Liam Marshall) was fully fit.
“So I told Waney that my ankle wasn’t right.”
Davies was consoled by team-mate Joel Tomkins and rugby director Kris Radlinski in the dressing room.
“I went back into the dressing room, and it was like my world was crumbling,” he said.
“Joel and Rads were massive. I shed some tears on Joel’s shoulder.
“Getting to Wembley last year was the closest I’ve been to a final, so I’m buzzing now.
“I’ll try and soak it all in and enjoy it.”
Davies debuted for Wigan four weeks after their World Club Challenge success last year, and has been a regular in the side ever since.
His strong carries are certainly appreciated by his team-mates, coaches and supporters, and he played his role in Friday’s 14-0 semi-final victory against Castleford.
“We talked about applying pressure and the whole team was massive on that,” he said.
“There was a point at the end, we were packing down for a scrum and it kicked in that we’re going to the Grand Final.
“I’ve been as a fan – my dad took me to Leeds-St Helens in 2007, and the occasion, the fireworks, the noise, it was unreal.
“Now to play in one is a dream come true.”