EORL CRABTREE is looking to mark his 250th senior career appearance on Sunday by helping the Giants take their first step back to Wembley.
The 27-year-old prop has been at the heart of Huddersfield’s success over the past decade and has already achieved so much in the game.
Included in his 249 games are two Challenge Cup final appearances with the Giants, as well as Four Nations game for England against the mighty Australians.
Crabtree obviously counts the Cup finals at Twickenham in 2006 and at Wembley last season as two of his career highlights.
But having lost both finals, the Huddersfield-born front-rower is desperate to savour success on the biggest of domestic rugby league stages.
He hopes that comes this year in the 2010 final, although he knows Sunday’s home fourth-round clash against Hull KR presents his side with one of the toughest opening challenges.
But with Crabtree about to celebrate such a major personal landmark he is determined to make sure it’s on the back of another big Giants’ win.
“I was amazed when I was told it’s going to be 250 this weekend. My first game only seemed like yesterday,” said Crabtree, who made his senior debut as a substitute in a 43-12 Super League defeat at London Broncos on April 15, 2001. “I’ll never forget that day, because I came on the field and ended up getting knocked out. Welcome to Super League!
“But, luckily, it’s got a bit better since then, and many of the next 248 games have been far better.
“And last season’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley has got to be the best experience I’ve ever had.
“It wasn’t just the game itself, but the whole build-up to the final that was so special.
“Unfortunately, the result didn’t go the way we’d hoped, but it was still a fantastic occasion, and I’d love to get back there again this year.
“Obviously, we’ve got Hull KR first, and that won’t be easy.
“They work really hard for each other, which is a bit like us I suppose, and have some real quality.
“If we can see off them, then we’ll have taken a huge first step back to the final.”
Crabtree is certain to feature against the Robins this weekend, although Giants head coach Nathan Brown is still to finalise his side.
But one man who won’t be involved is fit-again Brad Drew.
He made his return to action following pre-season knee surgery in Saturday’s reserves Under 20s clash, but Brown believes he is still two weeks away from a senior run-out.