JAKE Trueman is ready to feel the pressure to lead Hull FC towards Wembley – just the way he wants it.
If he didn’t have that, they would be nowhere near thinking about the Challenge Cup finals.
Nowhere are rugby league players in the spotlight more than in Hull and that expectation has dashed many who have worn the black and white shirt in the past.
But centre-back Trueman is ready to use that to his advantage as Tony Smith’s men have turned around a stuttering start and shown they can threaten anyone.
He said: “The pressure is a bit greater when you want to win something.
“Hull hasn’t really caught on in the last few years and the fans are dying to win something so you definitely feel that pressure.
“And today it will start again. You lose, you’re out. It’s do or die and there’s this pressure to keep going, but I think it helps.
“You can only build up that pressure if you’re in the big games. That helps you keep going.
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“After ten months out with a knee injury – that’s going to be another four to six weeks – I’m still at a bit of my best but I’m slowly coming back.
“It was pretty much a whole new backbone, with a new coach, new ideas and a new structure. It would always take so much time.
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“We were always confident that we would make it. Looking back, at the start of the season with a lot of new players and a new coach, it was pretty unrealistic to expect us to start strong.
“Now we look a lot more confident. If you lose seven straight away, your confidence will be shattered. Now we’ve got that back and we’re confident we can stay in the games.”
Hull FC may be just two wins away from Wembley, but a formidable opponent stands in their way this afternoon as four-time Super League champions and current world champions St Helens come to town.
And just like the hosts. Paul Wellens’ men are finding their form again after a wobble that emerged after defeating NRL champions Penrith Panthers in Australia.
But centre-back Trueman, 24, added: “Hull played back-to-back games in 2016 and 2017 so the Challenge Cup is very special for the club and we’ll definitely be a part of it.”
“You keep Wembley in the background but now it’s about winning three games and then you’re there – not that many.
“However, I was always confident that Saints would do well. They have too much quality not to compete.
“I saw them against Wigan and they looked really strong, but when you win against the champions you get tremendous confidence.
“And they have shown that they can be beaten. Every team in the league has its weaknesses. Saints are not unbeatable.
“You have to play against top teams to win the cup, so you should get rid of them as early as possible.”