Leeds and Warrington ready for Challenge Cup final
CHALLENGE CUP FINAL: Leeds v Warrington Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Saturday, 28 August Kick-off: 1430 BST Coverage: Live on BBC One, HD and BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio Merseyside; text commentary online and on mobiles. Coverage from 1330 BST on Red Button
Best of the Challenge Cup so far
Leeds hooker Danny Buderus is braced for a bruising tie when his team meet defending champions Warrington Wolves in Saturday's Challenge Cup final.
"I'd really love to win this one," said Buderus of the sell-out tie. "It would be a dream but the reality is it's going to be a tough, tough gig to do."
Wolves veteran Adrian Morley reckons his team are in the midst of a period of sustained success.
"We have got belief that we can go all the way in any competition," he said.
"We are trying to change the culture here and I think we are doing that. This is where we want to be as a club - competing for these major titles.
I think the team are in a really good place - we're pretty solid with what we're doing
Leeds coach Brian McClennan
"To go there last year was great and to go back to defend the title is pretty special. I think you'll see us making these major finals in the coming years as well."
Warrington coach Tony Smith named his team prior to Friday's traditional walk around the Wembley pitch - and scrum-half Richie Myler was left out of the Wolves' final squad of 17.
The 20-year-old scored tries in the victories over Featherstone, Huddersfield and Catalans Dragons, but made way for hooker Mickey Higham from the team that triumphed at the semi-final stage.
"Micky Higham has only been back a couple of weeks but he's been in terrific form," said Smith.
"We've a lot of good players that are in good form. Myler's in good form but there are some areas he needs to work on and he will.
Smith not detered by 'favourites' Leeds
"After the game, if we lose people can say I got that wrong. It's not an easy job and it's not a pleasurable job but when you're fit and healthy somebody has got to miss out."
The Wolves had already left Chris Bridge out of their squad despite the centre making an unexpectedly rapid recovery from a shoulder injury.
"It's a little bit too soon for him but he was an option," added Smith.
"He was somebody we could have picked, he has made a really good recovery. He'll be a real shot in the arm for the next part of our campaign."
Leeds coach Brian McClennan did not reveal his starting line-up, but said he was pleased with preparations.
"The players have got a good idea," he said. "We had all 19 train today and I'm very pleased with that.
"The ones that take to the pitch are what we think suits this game and the game plan we have for Warrington.
"I thought we looked really sharp. I think the team are in a really good place. We're pretty solid with what we're doing."
Morley was in the last Leeds team to win the Challenge Cup, when the Yorkshire club defeated London Broncos 52-16 at the old Wembley in 1999. But there is no room for sentiment for the prop as he prepares for Saturday's encounter.
"Just because it is Leeds this weekend doesn't give me any more incentive," he said. "It doesn't matter who we are up against.
"Leeds have had huge success in the Super League - one of the most successful periods in the club's history - but they have not actually managed to get their hands on the Cup for 11 years.
"I wouldn't mind if it is more than 11 but they have publicly said they want to do well in this competition."
Leeds, who have won the last three Grand Finals, lost against Hull at the Millennium Stadium in the 2005 Challenge Cup final and against Bradford at the same venue two years earlier.
Current Warrington coach Smith was in charge of Leeds in 2005 but is determined to ensure that the Rhinos experience more final heartache.
"I've still got friends there and always will have," said Smith. "When they're not playing us I wish them well but that is as far as it goes.
"I've moved on well and truly. It doesn't take long to adjust to a new environment. I love it here and the people I work with."
We've got a million reasons why we want to win and one of them is to do it for Jamie Peacock
Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield
Morley, 33, is one of three specialist front-rowers in the Wolves side along with Garreth Carvell and Paul Wood.
Ben Harrison, who played prop in the earlier rounds against Huddersfield and Bradford, will also play.
In contrast, Leeds are without Jamie Peacock and Luke Burgess and will reply on just two specialist props in Kylie Leuluai and Ryan Bailey, while second-rower Carl Ablett returns after a three-match ban.
Peacock will miss the rest of the season - but Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield is adamant that the front rower still has a part to play on Saturday.
"We've got a million reasons why we want to win and one of them is to do it for JP," said Sinfield.
"He's played a big part in us getting here and he's put a big part of himself and his personality into the club since joining from Bradford. He would deserve to win a medal.
McClennan focussed on gameplan not Cup
"I'm delighted JP's coming down with us. His support and his presence will be great for the group."
Sinfield has been keen to play down the significance of the game as the Yorkshire club look to end their barren trophyless spell in the competition.
"Warrington have obviously tasted victory at Wembley and know how good it feels," said the Leeds skipper. "That's massive for them and I think it will play a part but, on the flip side, we want to get a taste of it.
"In previous years we really built the cup up and perhaps went out too fired up and not performed. We tried to change it this year and thankfully it's worked so far."
Saturday's match will be the first sell-out in 13 years for rugby league's annual showpiece, with 90,000 fans ready to pack out Wembley.
The father and brother of former Australia international Buderus have made the trip from down under to watch the final.
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