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Jon Wilkin column

Saints celebrate

By Jon Wilkin
St Helens and England forward

That's three Challenge Cup wins in a row, and it just feels unbelievable. How do you even begin to put it into words?

I know how lucky I am to be part of this team at this particular time.

There are so many great players around, and to play in a side with legends like Paul Wellens and Keiron Cunningham is just so special.

Jon Wilkin scores
"This is something I pretended to do when I was mucking about as a kid"
To score a try at Wembley in a Challenge Cup final was something I pretended to do when I was mucking about in the back garden as a kid.

So, to have the ball in your hands with no one in front of you and 30m to go the try-line is just about as good as it gets.

Imagine the greatest feeling of your life - the sheer adrenaline, the overwhelming happiness and every other emotion going - washing over you in a split second, and then times it by 10, and you might get close. We're lucky people because we do get to fulfil our dreams.

There's no denying that I grew up as a Hull KR fan and I might have fantasised about beating Hull in a final as a kid, but then it was just a distant dream.

I tried not to bring much of that emotion into the game and I'm genuinely disappointed for them. Having lost in the Grand Final last year, I can have some kind of empathy for how they must feel.

We had to show a lot of character to come from behind, but that is nothing new for this group of players.

We've done that for years in Super League and it's something we get used to doing and part of our culture.

St Helens players celebrate
"We had to show character, but that is nothing new for this group"

We always strive for perfection over 80 minutes, but we fluctuated from some great stuff to some really poor stuff against Hull.

To be honest, I think we all underestimated just how hot it was. During the warm-up, I didn't give too much thought as to what impact the conditions were going to have but it was just roasting.

I think what you saw was two teams starting with a pace that they were never going to be able to sustain for 80 minutes.

We have all the elation of winning a massive trophy for the club, but we will all be thinking of Paul Sculthorpe.

For Scully to come off with a dislocated shoulder after less than two minutes is just heartbreaking, and we all feel for him.

I spoke to Scully in the changing room after the game, and to say he's disappointed barely does it justice.

Nobody wants to get injured in a big game, but Scully is a champion bloke who has achieved so much in the game.

He's played in big games and shown what an amazing talent, character and born winner he is, so he's got nothing to prove to anybody.

Daniel Anderson
"Daniel has been inspirational, especially for the younger players"
We're all upset for him, because he's a friend as well as a team-mate. It's hard to come out with the right words, and Scully knows the situation.

When you start playing rugby league, injuries are an unfortunate part of the game and he knows that better than anybody at the moment.

We will fight on to the final hooter of the final game of the season, but Scully's injury reminds us that we're coming to the end of an era, with our coach Daniel Anderson leaving at the end of the season and Mick Potter coming in.

Daniel has been an inspirational character, especially for the younger players at the club.

He's shown great faith in the young guys and taught them that if they work hard they can play at this elite level.

He will be a tough act to follow, but sport has to change. The players are changing and that has to happen.

I think Daniel is very good at steering players in the right direction, and I hear Mick Potter is much the same.

We're very much looking forward to working with him, but we've got some unfinished business this year to sort out first.

Jon Wilkin was talking to BBC Sport's Phil Harlow

see also
Super Saints clinch Cup final win
30 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Cup win is for Anderson - Wellens
30 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Yeaman devastated by final defeat
30 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Challenge Cup final as it happened
30 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Ask Jon Wilkin
16 Aug 08 |  Rugby League

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