Former Hull FC stand-off Paul Cooke says self-belief could make the difference when his old club play Warrington Wolves in a Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final at Huddersfield on Sunday July 28 (6.00pm).
Cooke was a stand-out performer in Hull’s dramatic 25-24 Challenge Cup final triumph against Leeds Rhinos in 2005, the last time the Airlie Birds lifted the famous trophy, and he believes the current crop of FC stars has a chance to write their names into the history books against the Cup holders.
“Warrington are the favourites to win the semi-final but in these type of games players can often come up with special efforts,” said Cooke.
“When you know that you’re only 80 minutes away from a place in the final it can inspire you and you can come up with that bit of magic that’s required.
“The players will be nervous, they’ll doubt themselves and go through scenarios in their heads but when the whistle blows if they have a strong belief in themselves and in the players around them then they can get the result.
“There are a lot of similarities between the current squad and the group in 2005. We weren’t in great league form then and we were written off as well but we knew we could win and that we were capable of putting it all together on the day and that’s what happened.
“Every single player now has the chance to write themselves into the history books and put in the kind of performance that means they’ll be the man that people will talk about in years to come.”
Hull go into the game on the back of a five-game losing streak in Super League but Cooke, who currently plies his trade for with Doncaster in the Championship, does not think that will count for anything on Sunday.
“The underdog can and often does win in Cup competitions,” he said. “We’ve seen it in all sports and it’s what makes these kind of games so special.
“I think the game will be a welcome distraction for the Hull lads. They haven’t been travelling well in the league and they’ll be disappointed with where they are, but Cup games tend to throw up surprises and it’s not as clear cut as anyone thinks.
“The league is constant and requires week in week out consistency and to win you need to be at the very top all through the play-offs for three or four weeks. But the Cup is a one-off, every team is capable of putting together a Cup-winning performance on their day, they just have to believe in themselves.
“Hull were the last team to beat Warrington in the league and that will give them a confidence boost as they know they can and how to get the win and if they put it all together on the day then I think they can pull it off.”
Tickets for the Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final, Hull FC v Warrington Wolves, at the John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield on Sunday July 28 cost from £18 adult and £9 concession and can be purchased in advance by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk Tickets can also be purchased on the day and cost £20 adult and £10 concession.
Tickets for the 2013 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24 are now on sale priced from just £21. Visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call 0844 856 1113 for full details.
For people with any form of disability the RFL offers a free assistant place when booking tickets. For people with a visual impairment or non-sighted disability we also offer audio visual descriptive commentary for all our events.