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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 August 2007, 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
Jon Wilkin column
Jon Wilkin
By Jon Wilkin
St Helens back row

As a player, I'd never felt under so much pressure coming into a game as I did in this Challenge Cup final against Catalans at Wembley.

We'd been made such massive favourites, it's a real challenge to come out and live up to that.

We're used to that in Super League, but it's different in the big games where the opposition are just as motivated.

The Dragons came out and played really well but we showed we're a champion team.

St Helens beat Catalans Dragons 30-8 at Wembley
Saints belied their tag as hot favourites at Wembley

We were well aware that if we rode out the first 20 minutes we had the fitness and strength to do well in the latter of both halves.

The first period of both halves was a battle but the last 20 minutes we dominated. That's credit to our conditioning staff for getting us in such good shape.

We knew that if we got to the ends of our sets of six we'd score points, so regardless of what time it happens, we know we can change the game.

We kept the creativity until the last minute of the first half and that's how Adie Gardner scored just before half-time.

After 80 minutes of rugby, they sling a couple of hundred steps at us just to see if we can manage it

We were happy with the hot weather - we like playing in dry conditions. It was ideal for us because we had every opportunity to throw the ball around, and when we did we looked dangerous.

We had great creativity from the likes of Paul Wellens and Leon Pryce but players like Nick Fozzard were great too. I thought he must have run them close for man of the match.

It was a long way up the steps at the end to pick up the trophy, but it was well worth it.

Halfway up there my legs were tiring, I think it's the final test - after 80 minutes of rugby, they sling a couple of hundred steps at us just to see if we can manage it!

I was very emotional at the end because my life is based around rugby and very few people ever get to fulfil their dream - that's what I've done today.

My family have always supported me to the end, so for them to see me at Wembley was fantastic, it's as much a credit to them as parents as it is to me as a player.

SEE ALSO
Anderson salutes battling Saints
25 Aug 07 |  Rugby League
Catalans 8-30 St Helens
25 Aug 07 |  Rugby League
Ask Jon Wilkin
06 Feb 07 |  Rugby League


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