Holdsworth relishing Wembley final
Hull's Daniel Holdsworth has finally got his head around the concept of the famous Challenge Cup as he prepares to make his Wembley debut.
The former Canterbury Bulldogs player was familiar with the sudden-death nature of knockout football from the NRL's end-of-season play-off series but the idea of drawing teams at random out of a hat to determine the matches was a new one to him.
"In Australia you can see the final and you understand the day and how big an occasion it is playing at Wembley but you don't really understand the concept of how it all comes about to get there," said Holdsworth, whose mother and father are flying over to watch the game.
"I definitely understand it now and I think it's a great concept."
It is possible, in theory, to reach the final without ever meeting Super League opposition but Hull have made it to Wembley the hard way, overcoming Wakefield, Catalan Dragons and Warrington to set up a meeting with Wigan in a repeat of the famous 1985 final.
The 29-year-old Holdsworth never got close to Wembley during his three seasons with Salford but allowed himself to dream and will realise his ambition in his first season with the Black and Whites.
"It's finally here," Holdsworth said. "It's been a bit of a weird one with a four-week build-up to it but I am excited.
"In the last few years when I've watched the final, I always thought it would be amazing to get the chance to do that and now it's happening."
Holdsworth is looking forward to a reunion with his old Salford half-back partner Matty Smith, who left the Reds last summer to join Wigan.
"Matty is a great bloke and a great little player too," Holdsworth said. "It will be exciting for him as well.
"He moved on at the same time as I did. He's played well this year and taken his game to a new level. I'm sure he'll be ready.
"When a big club like Wigan comes in for Matty, he's obviously going to go.
"It was the same with me when Hull started speaking to me - it was a no-brainer. I loved my time at Salford but, footie-wise, coming second last is not what you want."
Holdsworth endured a difficult start to his career at the KC Stadium, where his absence due to head and calf injuries forced him to sit out 12 matches.
He was sorely missed, with Hull winning just five of those matches, but his return for the semi-final against Warrington last month proved crucial as he steered his team to victory with a superb kicking game.
It earned him the man-of-the-match award but he modestly plays down his own contribution.
"That's my job, that's what I'm here to do," he said. "It's what I've done most of my life.
"I think I get a lot of credit for stuff that I don't really do. I help out the team as much as I can in the ways that I can but the team deserves a lot of credit too.
"We had a lean period in Super League where we lost a few games in a row but no one dropped their bundle, everyone was in every day working hard to try to get their way out of it and we have."