Ward eyes Wembley chance
Rhinos youngster hoping to impress McDermott
Last Updated: 15/08/12 2:56pm
Stevie Ward: Desperate to be involved in the Challenge Cup final
Leeds Rhinos youngster Stevie Ward insists playing in the Challenge Cup final against Warrington would mean everything to him.
The 19-year-old pulled out of England Academy's tour to Australia in order to stay and fight for his place in Brian McDermott's team.
Ward went into Leeds' semi-final clash with Wigan undecided about the trip only for the surprise victory to settle the debate.
"To walk out at Wembley at 18 and play in a Cup final would be absolutely breath-taking and that first whistle would be unlike anything else I've ever experienced."
Stevie Ward Quotes of the week
The youngster knows he is not first-choice to start, however, he is crossing his fingers his form is good enough to merit selection in McDermott's 17-man squad.
"Getting to play at Wembley in a Challenge Cup final would mean everything to me, especially after pulling out of the England tour," he told the club's official website.
"To walk out at Wembley at 18 and play in a Cup final would be absolutely breath-taking and that first whistle would be unlike anything else I've ever experienced.
"Pulling out of the tour was the toughest decision I've ever had to make. Going into the semi-final against Wigan I hadn't made a decision about what I was going to do and when we came away with a great win in that match I was left with a very tough decision.
"That semi-final sealed it for me though because to be involved with this special group of players and be in with a chance of fighting for a place at Wembley is something I didn't want to miss.
"To walk out in front of 70,000 fans and play for the Challenge Cup is one of those things you can't understand until you do it and hopefully I'll get that chance next week.
"I'm always confident in my ability and I try to play to my very best every week regardless of who the opposition is so all I can do is continue to play as best I can and hopefully do enough to get a place in the 17 and be involved."