Huddersfield Giants legend Eorl Crabtree insists that if the club wins the Challenge Cup on Saturday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium it will lay some ghosts to rest.
Crabtree, who was a one club man and played 400 games for his hometown club, reached the final with the Giants twice in 2006 and 2009 and was on the losing side both times.
However now, 13 years on, Crabtree believes this group of players has the talent, determination and passion to lay a few ghosts and lift the coveted trophy.
Looking back at the final against Warrington in 2009, Crabtree said: “I loved the build up to the game. it’s the first time in rugby league you feel like a big sports star with all the media attention.
“There are lots of press ringing you and the general week build up buzz is amazing. Then you train at different venues, take a look at the ground and the different dressing rooms you’ll be sitting in and it just makes it a theatre of rugby league.
“We were unlucky in that final in 2009. We had a try disallowed and Kev Brown got injured early doors. That meant we had to change the team around and so we didn’t have our half-backs where we wanted them.
“It was unfortunate but it obviously just wasn’t our time and that’s life, sometimes things just go for you and sometimes they don’t.
“For me personally I don’t think about the two finals I lost. I only remember it when it gets mentioned and so the memories are fading fast.
“My life has changed. I was part of the team that got relegated from Super League and promoted back to it and helped us rebuild from the ground up to where we are today and that’s something I’m proud of.
“I did my bit and now it’s time for these lads to do theirs and take it to another level. I’ll do my bit now off the field in the commercial department for the club. Hopefully these lads get to taste success because they deserve it, not just because they are good players but because they are a good group.
“The final is something you want to play in and it is the pinnacle of your career, it’s what you made all those sacrifices for.
“My advice to the players is to go out there and enjoy the moment, take it in and embrace it because these moments can be few and far between.
“However, don’t forget what you’re there to do. You can’t let the game pass you by. You have to do all you can to make the outcome you want.
“I think if we win it, we’ll be laying a few ghosts because it has been held over us for some time. Hopefully this time around it is our time and looking at this group of players they have the skill and determination to make it happen against a good opponent.
“There is no reason Huddersfield can’t be catapulted right to the top of rugby league again and be a shock to the system. If you get the right culture in a club with the right people you can achieve anything.
“I don’t think there are any superstars in this squad, just good people wanting the best for the club. That’s replicated by the staff and the people behind the scenes. I think we are getting there but we aren’t the finished article yet.”
The former player turned club ambassador was at Elland Road a few weeks ago where the Giants defeated Hull KR 25-4 in the semi-final in what was an impressive performance.
The club is now just one win away from lifting the cup for the first time since 1953. The game against favourites Wigan kicks off at 3pm.
Whilst Crabtree accepts that the Giants will go into the final as underdogs, he believes Huddersfield can come out victorious and prove people wrong.
He added: “They are a good team, it’s a typical Wigan side. Big, aggressive, tight, disciplined, these are all the things that a Wigan team usually have. However, they also make mistakes and we have seen that this season and so we need to capitalise on those errors.
“Wigan are favourites to win, and that’s probably correct that they should be the favourites. However, Huddersfield are a very good team and I just don’t think we are being given the credit the lads deserve.
“We want to go there and prove to people that Huddersfield can be a club that can win things and develop and be a force.”