Challenge Cup final: Wigan and Hull chase rugby league holy grail
By George RileyBBC Sport
Challenge Cup final: Hull FC v Wigan Warriors
Date: Saturday, 24 August
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC One HD (14:15-17:15) and BBC Sport website, live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Manchester & BBC Radio Humberside
Nothing fills the rugby league veins with adrenalin quite like the Challenge Cup.
Rugby league's most prestigious cup competition provides the sport's annual day in the national and international spotlight. The advent of Super League and play-off rugby added the Grand Final to that mix, but Wembley remains the holy grail.
For me, the Challenge Cup is bigger to rugby league than the FA Cup is to football. The big occasion, the luxury hotel, the superstar welcome from adoring fans. These things come around often for football's millionaires and the next occasion is rarely far away.
For the rugby league player this can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the limelight, the high life and the superstar treatment.
"This is what you play rugby for" Hull forward Joe Westerman said.
Wane has struggled to keep the beaming smile off his face this week. He admits this is not like "any other game" and refuses to use that phrase to keep his players' minds on the prize.
His main team-talk will be done in the hotel on Friday night because anything he says in the moments before the players leave the dressing room will be forgotten amid the deafening crowd noise that will greet their emergence from the tunnel.
The bigger picture of course is the game's constant need to seize every window to shine when the world is watching. This is
paramount in World Cup year.
Events like this cup final draw in new fans so it is imperative that the occasion doesn't disappoint.
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