Ablett better prepared for Wembley clash

PA Sport
Carl Ablett is confident Leeds can end their long wait for Challenge Cup glory
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Carl Ablett is confident Leeds can end their long wait for Challenge Cup glory

Leeds utility player Carl Ablett was relieved to get a couple of games in before Wembley after going into the 2010 Challenge Cup final against Warrington decidedly "ring rusty".

Two years ago the centre or second rower went into the final having not played for a month after being given a three-match ban for a foul on Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins, and he admits the big game probably came to soon for him.

Ablett, whose side were beaten 30-6 by the Wolves, sensed deja vu when he got a hamstring injury in July. He said: "I missed three games leading up to the final against Warrington so it probably wasn't the best preparation for me personally. Thankfully I got over the injury and hopefully I'll get some games in before Wembley this time and take some form into it."

Ablett, one of a host of Leeds-born players in the Rhinos team, was on the bench at Wembley two years ago but was at centre last August when the Yorkshiremen went down 28-18 to Wigan to leave them still waiting to add to their 1999 win over London Broncos.

Leeds have become the most successful club in the Super League era with five Grand-Final triumphs in the last eight years but their failure in rugby league's famous knockout competition is a constant source of frustration.

"It just never seems to work out," Ablett said. "In the first year Warrington blitzed us - we weren't good enough on the day - and last year we came out a little bit slow. We got ourselves back in and made more of a game of it but probably gave ourselves too much to do.

"When you work so hard to get there, it's not nice but it was a great experience for everybody and I feel we've learned a little bit from both of them. Hopefully, the experiences of the last two years will stand us in good stead and it will all come together this time.

"If you look around the team, you see some great leaders in there who have played in plenty of big games.

"We've a great blend of youth as well, it's a good mix at the minute, and we're pretty confident we can go there and put up a good show.

"It would be massive to climb up those steps at Wembley. We've watched teams do it the last two years and it's probably not the greatest to watch. It just spurs you on I suppose. We're quite lucky in three consecutive years we've been good enough to get there and hopefully we can have a different outcome this time."

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