Fear driving Wolves on

  • Last Updated: August 20 2012, 13:27 BST

Inspirational Warrington forward Ben Westwood believes the Wolves were driven back to Wembley this year mainly by the fear of missing out.

Ben Westwood: Wary of Leeds

Three years ago the club had gone almost two decades without playing in a Challenge Cup final and the prospect of returning to the game's most famous showpiece was a huge motivating factor.

But such has been the Wolves' domination of the competition since then, not booking an August date in north-west London would seem like a failure to them.

That proved the case last year as, after the glorious successes of 2009 and 2010, Tony Smith's men came unstuck at the quarter-final stage against Wigan.

"It's nice to get back to Wembley for the third time in four years," Westwood, the powerful and often match-winning second row, said.

"We missed out last year and we were disappointed but I think it shows the character of the team that we wanted to get back there. We didn't want to miss out.

"We did feel like there was something missing last year.

"Wigan caught us on a day when they were red hot and we were a bit cold.

"It was hard but credit to Wigan, we got knocked out by the winners.

"But we have done it this year, we have got back there and everyone is looking forward to it."

Standing between the Wolves and a third cup triumph in four years are the side they brushed aside in 2010.

Leeds were also runners-up last year and the club's recent lack of recent cup success has now become a real bugbear at Headingley.

Despite their enduring title-winning class, the Rhinos have lost on all five of their Challenge Cup final appearances since their last victory at Wembley in 1999.

Westwood expects Leeds to be extra determined to shake that monkey off their back this time and is not anticipating a repeat of the eventual stroll their 30-6 win in 2010 became.

The long-serving 31-year-old is also aware the Rhinos have repeatedly proved - particularly in winning the Super League Grand Final last year after finishing fifth - that knockout rugby is their speciality.

Westwood said: "Leeds, again, in the league have not been too good but they are in another final.

"They are big-game players and we have got to be wary of them.

"They have had plenty of practice at finals but we will be ready for them.

"We got off to a great start two years ago and we will be looking to do the same again but I don't think it will be quite as dominant as last time we played them at Wembley."

Westwood knows one man he must stop is the Rhinos' inspirational playmaking and goalkicking captain Kevin Sinfield.

Having become a regular in the England set-up, Westwood knows the loose forward turned stand-off well and - with national coach Steve McNamara looking for a new captain - believes he would be the ideal man to lead the country.

Westwood said: "It would be great for him and great for England if he was. He is a great leader and he has been around a long time.

"He knows everything there is to know about rugby league and I can't see why he couldn't be the captain but I'm sure whoever Macca chooses will be the right person."

Westwood, who has now spent a decade with the Wolves after leaving Wakefield, is soaking up the atmosphere around town as he prepares for his latest Wembley venture.

He said: "There is a real buzz about the place, not just the players but the whole town and the community. I think everyone enjoys the Wembley weekends."

Despite that, he concedes there is one aspect of the Wembley experience he is beginning to dread - the scores of requests for tickets from friends.

He said: "I just tell them to buy their own!"