ANDY RALEIGH hopes to celebrate his new three-year Giants contract by leading them to Cup glory over former club Hull KR at the Galpharm Stadium on Sunday.
The powerful 29-year-old forward has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at his hometown club until the end of the 2013 season.
With the back-rower-turned-prop coming out of his current contract at the end of this season, Raleigh had attracted the attention of several rival Super League clubs.
But as soon as the Giants made it clear they wanted him to stay, the former Moldgreen junior jumped at the chance.
“This deal has been done pretty quickly, and I’m absolutely delighted to know I’ll be here for a further three years,” said Raleigh, who can’t wait for the fourth-round Challenge Cup test to be shown live by the BBC.
“To be honest, the negotiations didn’t take too long, because I never wanted to go anywhere else.
“Knowing I was coming out of contract at the end of this season was a bit of a concern, even though I was aware there were several clubs keen to sign me. But I love it here and it’s been amazing seeing how the Giants have grown as a club. I didn’t want to give that up.
“We’ve just kept on growing stronger and stronger.
“And under Nathan Brown I know that process will continue, so to be wanted for a further three years is an incredible feeling.
“It’s now up to me to make sure I keep repaying the faith the club have shown in me.”
That process begins on Sunday with the Cup clash against Rovers as the Giants bid to make an immediate return to Wembley following last season’s 25-16 final defeat to Warrington.
And Raleigh knows it’s going to be a very tough assignment.
“The fact we beat them 30-0 at their place the other month will count for nothing,” he warned.
“They were missing a few key players that day and have been strengthened in the pack by the arrival of Joel Clinton. Beating Warrington by 20 points on Sunday shows how good they are.
“And the beauty of a Cup game is that it’s obviously down to who wants it more on the day. If we’re not fully switched on, that will be the end of us this year.
“No-one wants that, least of all me. I missed out on playing in the Challenge Cup final last year, because I’d only just come back from injury, so I’d love the chance to go back to Wembley as a player. But we’ll worry about Hull KR first.”