LIVEWIRE Giant Sean Penkywicz is dreaming of Challenge Cup final glory - just seven months after suffering relegation heartache with Halifax.
The 22-year-old hooker and fellow former Fax man Stuart Donlan are both gearing up to play the biggest games of their lives in Sunday's Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens at Warrington (3.15).
The form of their new side is in stark contrast to that of Halifax last year, who suffered relegation from Super League after losing 27 top-flight matches on the trot.
Penkywicz and Donlan were both key players for the side from The Shay but were unable to stop the club's slide out of Super League.
But now the dynamic duo are dreaming of Challenge Cup final glory rather than trying to avoid the drop, with Penkywicz admitting the change in fortunes is almost too incredible to believe.
"This time last year, playing in a Challenge Cup semi-final couldn't have been further from my mind," reflected the former Leigh East junior.
"All I could think about was how on earth Halifax could win a Super League game, and was there any chance we could avoid the drop.
"It really was a very, very tough time and keeping your spirits up was as big a challenge as anything.
"It never got to the stage when I thought about quitting, but it really was a massive test of character for all of us.
"But just look at us now!
"My main worry this week is making sure I'm in the best possible shape to help the Giants reach the Challenge Cup final.
"I've almost got to pinch myself when I think about it.
"I suppose I'm the living proof of how quickly a player's fortunes can turn around in rugby league."
With injury doubts remaining over several players, Penkywicz is still not clear exactly what role he will have to play this weekend.
But if fellow hooker Darren Turner proves his full fitness after missing last week's game at Leeds with a sore back and knee, he has a good idea.
"I think Rocky and myself are both enjoying the roles Jon Sharp is giving us," added Penkywicz.
"Rocky's a top bloke, and he does a great job starting the match and then softening up the opposition for me.
"We did something similar last year with Johnny Lawless at Halifax, with me coming off the bench to try and make the yards.
"It's a role I really enjoy and if Rocky proves he's fully fit I expect that's what I'll be doing on Sunday. I definitely hope so.
"I'm absolutely loving it at Huddersfield and it's now a case that I can't wait for the next match to come along. The sooner the better.
"I'm playing alongside some fantastic players and I think we're all helping to bring the best out of each other.
"We've already enjoyed some great wins and put in some good performances this year, but we all know we need to produce the performance of our lives to guarantee success against Saints.
"They play some amazing stuff if you let them, so it's our job to make sure they can't.
"I know one of my jobs will be to keep an eye on my mate Micky Higham.
"Saints rotate the hooking between Keiron Cunningham and Micky, just like we do with Rocky and me.
"And it'll be interesting to come up against him.
"I played in the same school team as Micky in Leigh and he played in the year above me at our junior club, Leigh East.
"We've not spoken to each other since the draw was made, but I expect we'll exchange the odd word or two on Sunday.
"Micky's played in more big games than me, but I don't think that'll count for too much.
"The fact that this match is the biggest a few of us at Huddersfield have ever played in will make us even more determined to succceed."