York City Knights half-back Jonny Presley insists the Championship club are primed and ready to face their biggest test of the year when they play Catalan Dragons in a Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth round tie on Sunday (3.00pm).
The match pits the Championship club against Super League opposition for the first time in two years and Presley is confident York will rise to the challenge of booking their place in the quarter-finals of Rugby League’s oldest and most prestigious competition.
York have already beaten French opposition this year with a 30-28 victory over Toulouse in the fourth round setting up the trip to Perpignan and Catalan Dragons will hold no fear for the City Knights.
“These are the kind of matches every player wants to be involved in, especially the English boys,” said Presley. “Playing in the Challenge Cup takes me back to my childhood watching the games on Grandstand and listening to Ray French.
“To play and be involved in games such as these in such a prestigious competition is really special. We’ve all dreamt of playing at Wembley and you never know what can happen in the Challenge Cup.
“It’s exciting to get an opportunity to play against Super League opposition and test yourself against the best. If we were to win it would certainly be one of the highlights of my career.
“Cup shocks do happen, you only have to look back to last year when Featherstone beat Castleford, but everyone at the club realises the size of the task.
“It helps that Catalans are on TV a lot so we know how they play and who to watch out for but it’s important to concentrate on ourselves and our performance, both collectively and individually. If we can get that right, I’m sure we will do York and the fans proud.
“The boys are looking forward to it, it gives us the opportunity to spend a couple of days together which will only strengthen the great team spirit we have.”
Presley rejoined York at the start of the year having spent 2012 playing Down Under with Fremantle Roosters, where he was named half-back of the Year in the Western Australian league.
“I really think playing in Australia for a season has benefited me and made me a better player,” said Presley. “The Kingston Press Championship is a tough competition and the standards are always improving which means as a player you need to keep improving too.
“We all know there’s a big difference between Super League and the Championships but we’re certainly not fazed by that, especially with what’s at stake.
“You always think ‘what if’ and it would be incredible to reach the quarter-finals but for now we are just concentrating on going over to France doing the best we can and enjoying the experience.”
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.