Hometown hero Riley wants to reward fans

PA Sport
Chris Riley is set to play for Warrington in Saturday's Challenge Cup final
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Chris Riley is set to play for Warrington in Saturday's Challenge Cup final

Banners on the front of houses, bunting in the street and posters in windows have not just been for the London Olympians this summer, with the people of Warrington decking out their communities in homage to their rugby league team.

Warrington Wolves head to Wembley for a third Challenge Cup final in four years on Saturday, with Tony Smith's men intent on beating Leeds to win back the trophy they feel they 'lost' by not making the Wembley showpiece last season.

Playing at the national stadium carries significance for every player involved, but for Warrington winger Chris Riley, a born-and-bred hometown hero, the day will be extra special, mainly owing to what he has seen in the build-up. "Being a local lad, walking down the streets it's starting to hit home a bit now," he told Press Association Sport.

"I walked to the local shops and saw flags, banners and posters and I was like 'wowsers', and that's when it means the most. For myself I want success, but you know how much it means to the people who pay the money and travel around to watch us everywhere.

"I know all about the history of the town and how long we had to wait to win something, like 35 years. To be a part of that and being local means a hell of a lot. No matter where we're from, we all want to win silverware."

The Challenge Cup has become synonymous with Warrington since Smith took over, with success in it almost expected.

Riley can offer no reason for that, but wants to make sure it stays that way.

"We have had a lot of transformation over the last few years, a few different coaches, then Tony came in and we went on a run in 2009 when we couldn't get beaten in the Challenge Cup," he said.

"Lee Briers got a golden drop goal at Hull KR in the quarter-finals and went from there. The success has made us want more and hopefully we can do that and then go on and do well in the Super League.

"I want it back. Leeds have been there for three years and want a piece of it too and it's been a while since they did it. But we went back-to-back and it felt like our trophy so we want it back."

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