The Tetley’s Challenge Cup is special for every Rugby League player but for Bradford half-back Luke Gale, Friday night's fifth round tie against London Broncos at The Twickenham Stoop will have extra significance.
The former Leeds Rhinos Academy player was on loan with Doncaster when he signed for Harlequins RL at the end of 2008 and it proved to be a career-defining move. In his three seasons with the London club he made 72 appearances and earned a place with England Knights.
“The Challenge Cup is special,” said Gale. “It’s a different game, you don’t play week in week out, so it’s a different kind of buzz and the boys always get up for it. Every team dreams of a good Challenge Cup run and it definitely has a different feel about it.
“I think when you start your career you dream of playing at Wembley. It’s a massive thing, something that everyone wants to achieve.”
So how will it feel to be back and The Stoop? “It will be good, I’ve got a few friends at the club and I enjoyed my time down there. I’m looking forward to it and I know the boys are as well.”
Bradford played the Broncos a month ago at High Wycombe when The Stoop was unavailable in what turned out to be a cracking contest. The Londoners led 20-12 at half-time thanks to a hat-trick from Kieran Dixon but Jarrod Sammut turned the game on its head in the second half with a four-try haul to give Bradford a 46-20 victory.
Bradford, however, will not be taking anything for granted on Friday.
“Obviously we’ll go in there in a positive frame of mind but you can’t underestimate them. London can turn teams over,” said Gale. “If you take them too lightly they’ll shock you
“I know they’ve been at the foot of the table but they’ve got class players like Luke Dorn and some good young kids in Kieran Dixon and Daniel Sarginson.
“With it being Friday night there should be a bit of atmosphere and hopefully they’ll get a good crowd in. It’s a game to look forward to definitely.”
Tickets for the 2013 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24 are now on sale from just £21. Visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call 0844 856 1113 for full details.