Richard Agar is steeped in rich Challenge Cup history. The Leeds boss grew up watching dad Allan first play and then coach successfully in Wembley finals, and reached the quarter-finals himself as a player with Dewsbury.
As as coach, Agar was assistant when Hull FC lifted the 2005 trophy, made the 2008 final with the Black and Whites when in charge, and also as a Warrington no.2 eight years later.
Now he stands one win from a fifth personal final ahead of today’s semi-final with Wigan. Agar said: “My first trip to Wembley was when my father played there in 1980. There was a minibus full of people shy of 100,000 watching the Hull derby, and I have strong recollections of that day.
“It was a pretty dour game but a great weekend to be involved in from a family perspective.
“The big one for me was 1983 and watching Featherstone beat Hull at Wembley. I can recall pretty much everything about the weekend.
“As a player I think the furthest I got was quarter-finals with Dewsbury and it was Leeds at Headingley, but I was injured and didn’t play.
“We also got to a quarter-final when I was coach at York City Knights as a second division team and played Huddersfield – another terrific experience.
“I’ve got a lot of great, vivid long-term memories about the Challenge Cup, particular from the 1980s era.”
Agar is taking nothing for granted on Saturday however against a Wigan side that beat the Rhinos 28-10 in Super League seven weeks ago. He added: “They’re a really good team with some of the best players in the comp in their side.
“Sean O’Loughlin brings another dimension to them, particularly when they’re coming out of their own half. When he plays they have different points of attack.
“Bevan French has probably been the most exciting individual in Super League and is one of those players people would pay to go to a stadium to watch. Liam Farrell is a tremendous player and they have a couple of real unsung heroes in Sam Powell and Willie Isa.
“We’ve prepared for them, we’re very aware of the threats and we know we’ll have to put our best performance on to get this one.”
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