Monaghan hungry to lead Wolves to glory - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Monaghan hungry to lead Wolves to glory

By Nick Clowes 27/08/2009 11:25:23 AM Comments (0)

Michael Monaghan almost packed his bags and returned to Australia after Warrington's disastrous start to the season - but now he's hungry to lead the Wolves to Challenge Cup glory this weekend.

The ex-Manly Sea Eagles star was at the centre of criticism heading Warrington's way at the start of the campaign as five consecutive defeats left them at the foot of Super League table.

But their revival - sparked by the appointment of England coach Tony Smith as the club's new boss in March - has led to the Wolves' date with Huddersfield in their first Wembley appearance since 1990.

And Monaghan, who has switched from halfback to hooker under Smith, is delighted he refused to let his heart rule his head at the start of the Super League season.

"I had thoughts of heading home - no doubt about it," said the 29-year-old.

"Both myself and the team were struggling and I came in for my fair bit of criticism.

"My poor performances went hand-in-hand with things like getting booed off the pitch and the constant speculation on my future took its toll.

"I started questioning whether it was worth the struggle, especially being on the other side of the world from friends and family.

"I've never asked the club if I could head home though, I just decided to concentrate on playing good footy and if I did that hopefully the rest would sort itself out.

"I'll be nervous before the final - I'm nervous before every game - but all the boys are confident we can put up a good show at Wembley.

Wolves coach Smith is sweating on the fitness of hooker Jon Clarke and ex-Melbourne centre Matt King - a hat-trick hero in the semi-final win over Wigan - and will delay the announcement of his team until as late as possible.

Meanwhile, Giants skipper Brett Hodgson is likely to shake off an Achilles injury to lead Nathan Brown's men out at Wembley.

The 31-year-old former Wests Tigers fullback sat out the 12-10 Super League defeat to St Helens at Knowsley Road last week - but insists he'll be fighting fit this weekend.

"I've trained right through but it was nice to have a break and just watch the boys last week," said Hodgson.

"I've done a lot of hard work to get back in shape and I can't wait for Saturday.

"Our forwards have been key this season and that's probably where the game is going to be won and lost."

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