Liam Sutcliffe has been to Wembley with Leeds Rhinos twice before, but 2014 holds an extra special significance for the lifelong Leeds fan, as this time he travels to the capital as a first team player.
The 19-year-old stand-off broke into the first team from the academy setup last season and his impressive performances have seen him become a regular face in the team.
Sutcliffe is a life-long Rhinos supporter and is relishing the opportunity to represent his home town club at Wembley.
“This is so surreal for me, I remember sitting in the stands at the 2011 and 2012 finals with the academy side and now I could be on that pitch playing with the first team, it’s a dream come true,” said Sutcliffe.
“For me, even to be playing alongside the likes of Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock is amazing and now to be a part of this great team, it can’t get any better for me, personally.”
Sutcliffe enjoyed a loan spell at Bradford Bulls earlier on in the season to help further develop his game in the top flight and he believes it was invaluable experience.
“It was a great experience for me at the Bulls, to get 80 minutes every week helped me so much and I’ll be forever grateful to Francis Cummins for that experience,” said Sutcliffe.
Now, the youngster’s focus is firmly back with the Rhinos and on beating a Tigers side, who are having an exceptionally good season, to the silverware.
“Castleford have so many key players this season, the likes of Mark Sneyd and Luke Dorn are unstoppable,” he said. “Under Daryl Powell, Cas are playing an entirely different game and we are well aware of the threat they bring.
“We’ll preview them this week and get a game plan in place. This is such a massive deal for the club and the supporters, we have been to a couple of finals in recent years and come away with nothing.
“We need to go to Wembley, put in a big performance and bring that trophy back to Leeds.”