Tigers-bound Richards eyes Wigan glory

Pat Richards will savour every moment of his last Challenge Cup final in a Wigan shirt but the Wests Tigers-bound winger is desperate to end his stay in England with silverware.


Richards’ chances of securing his second Super League crown look distant with the Warriors having lost three of their last four league fixtures.

But they take on Hull FC, skippered by former Tigers star back-rower Gareth Ellis, at Wembley on Saturday.

The match, which is the highlight of the English rugby league season, is a repeat of the classic 1985 final, widely considered to be most memorable in the competition’s 117-year-history.

Wigan ran out 28-24 winners in a game that featured Parramatta greats Peter Sterling, playing for Hull and Brett Kenny, who was named man of the match, for the victors.

Former Canberra flyer John ‘Chicka’ Ferguson was also in the Wigan side and Richards, who will rejoin the Tigers at the end of the campaign after eight seasons in England, is desperate to farewell Wembley on a high.

“This will be my last Challenge Cup final so I am just looking forward to enjoying the week and enjoy the occasion,” said Richards, who claimed the Man of Steel award in 2010.

“I came over here at the age of 23 and I was only planning to stay for two seasons but it’s eight now.

“I have enjoyed every minute of it and I have the best memories. I have met some great people and I only have good things to say, I will really miss it.

“I am looking forward to getting on the pitch and enjoying the atmosphere. I know I have a big job to do with the extra responsibility of goal-kicking but that’s my job.

“Whenever you say Wembley it has a special aura about it, to get another opportunity to play there in my last season over here is just amazing and I will saviour every moment.”

While Richards has an NRL grand final medal to cherish from his days with the Tigers, Aaron Heremaia insists he’s driven by NZ Warriors’ defeat in 2011 and desperate to see Hull FC climbing the Wembley steps.

Heremaia was on the end of a 24-10 defeat against Manly two years ago and this showpiece is the first chance the 30-year-old has had to put the record straight.

“When I played in the NRL grand final the whole week passed me by so fast and the game passed me by so fast too,” said the New Zealand international.

“I’ve been determined to soak up every part of this week. It is a massive achievement. I’ve never even been into London, let alone Wembley.

“Players sometimes play their whole career without playing in any major finals, so I feel very lucky and blessed.”