Wigan Warriors' Liam Marshall reveals how he used previous heartbreak to his advantage in order to enjoy his best season to date
The winger scored late winners in both the semi-final and final of the competition, as the club lifted the trophy for a 20th time.
Marshall had previously missed out on other big occasions through injury, but did feature in the 2017 Challenge Cup loss to Hull FC.
He said: “I wasn’t actually supposed to play in that game, Tom Davies pulled out in the warm-up.
“It was a strange one. I was half preparing myself to play, but it’s weird when you’re 18th man because I wasn’t expecting to play.
“I probably didn’t enjoy the week as much as I probably should’ve done.
“It passed me by a bit, and then five minutes before the end of the warm-up I was told I was playing.
“I didn’t have a chance to embrace it. I can’t really remember much of that day. I blacked it out a bit because of the result and how I went personally.
“I missed the two Grand Finals through injury. The most disappointing one was 2018 because I felt like I had played some good rugby and had cemented myself in the team, doing some good things.
“I got injured six weeks out from it in the first game of the Super 8s. It was very disappointing.
“I was involved in it as a squad member, and was in the hotel with the lads, but it takes that little bit of edge off it when you thought you could’ve been out there playing.
“Then, the 2020 season started well for us as a team and I was really enjoying myself, so the lockdown didn’t come at a great time.
“In the third game back following that, I did my knee.
“It was a strange one because everyone was separated because of Covid, and I couldn’t go to any of the games.
“It was tough but it has helped me to where I am now.
“Luckily enough I was able to play in this year’s Challenge Cup final, and that’s the best memory I’ve had since I’ve been at Wigan.
“After the disappointment of 2021, it gives you that little bit of extra satisfaction.
“I had two big moments that I’ll never forget.
“We weren’t at the races at Tottenham, but we stuck at it and luckily enough I was able to get on the end of Harry Smith’s kick for the great moment that it was.
“To do that at the Wigan end was great.
“Matty (Peet) has done a great job. He’s done it in exactly the way he’s wanted to and has not followed in the path of any previous coaches or done things that are the norm.
“He’s taken it under his own stride and has really bought into it. All the lads have really enjoyed it.
“The things he has done have put building blocks in place for the future. He’s trying to embed things in the club that will last a long time.
“He was my coach when I first came into the academy, so to progress with him is great.
“I know what I need to do to keep on his good side and get my place in the team.”