Weird year would make glory even more special, reckons Zak Hardaker
Wigan face Leeds this afternoon knowing victory will secure their place in the Challenge Cup Final in two weeks.
The decider will be played without any fans at Wembley but Hardaker doesn’t think that would take anything away from the significance of winning the famous trophy.
“I think this is one of those years that you’ll reflect on in 20 years’ time,” he said.
And if I can think, ‘Remember that crazy 2020, when we played at Wembley with no fans...’ that’ll be great. It seems the weirder this year gets the more special it becomes.”
Hardaker lifted the Cup while at Leeds in 2014 and ‘15 – in the years subsequent to Wigan’s last Final victory, in 2013.
And the centre knows just how important the competition is to the club in which it is synonymous.
“Everyone gets disappointed to get knocked out of the Cup but last year being at Wigan, it shocked me,” admits the former Man of Steel.
“It made me realise how highly the Cup is held at this club. It’s part of their history. But it’s something you have to earn, and we want to win something this year and hopefully we can do that and give ourselves a shot at Wembley.”
Wigan head into the match with their confidence buoyed by impressive victories over Catalans, Hull FC and Wakefield.
All the frontline players were rested for Tuesday’s 42-0 derby defeat against St Helens.
“The boys are really confident,” added Hardaker.
“I’m confident in the 13 out there doing their jobs and the lads off the bench doing their jobs.”
Kick-off is 2.30pm.
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