A SEASON that started as a ‘shambles’ is set to have a silver lining at Wembley for Garreth Carvell.
The 33-year-old prop forward, who was released by Warrington Wolves last November but still lives in the town, is in the Castleford Tigers squad preparing for Saturday’s Challenge Cup Final against Leeds Rhinos in front of more than 70,000 fans.
If selected in the 17, as he was against Widnes Vikings in the semi final on August 10, he will make his sixth appearance in the showpiece event in a difficult year that has seen him signed up with three different clubs.
Carvell, a hero of Wolves’ historic Wembley triumphs in 2009, 2010 and 2012 who also contested finals with Hull in 2005 and 2008, is seemingly attracted to the competition like a magnet and is loving being a part of the build-up to Castleford’s first Challenge Cup showdown in 22 years.
“I think I’ve just been really lucky, managing to get to a few finals,” said Carvell, who clocked up 135 games in a Wolves shirt over five seasons.
“It’s a competition I enjoy and I’m looking forward to this one just as much as all the others. Every one is special and they’re all a blessing.”
After last October’s Grand Final loss with Warrington, the England international joined Bradford Bulls but the Yorkshire outfit’s well documented off-the-field troubles resulted in him signing for his former club Hull as the new campaign was about to start.
“It’s been a bit of a shambles for me to be honest since leaving Warrington,” said Carvell, who was rested against Warrington on Friday in preparation for the final.
“Joining Hull was a bit of a mistake, not because of the club, just the distance really. It was difficult to do the two-and-a-half hours each way. I picked up a few niggles with that and my home life was affected, which I wasn’t happy about.
“Now I’m signed with Cas until the end of the season and I’m enjoying it. They’re a great bunch of guys, they have a great coaching staff and so hopefully I’m there to stay for a few years. We’ll have to wait and see on that one because I don’t have a contract for next season at the moment.”
Carvell, who has defeated his first pro club Leeds in three of his past final appearances, has additional reason to help deliver Cas their first win in the competition since 1986.
“My Mrs, her two brothers and dad have been lifelong Castleford supporters so it’s quite good that I’ve signed at the club and we’re going to Wembley. They’re made up,” he said.
“I’ve got a decent record against Leeds so hopefully I’ll be able to bring that luck on Saturday.”
A remarkable feat is on the line for Carvell, as he could become only the third player in the competition’s 117-year history to win the cup with three different clubs. The other two are Alex Murphy and Brian Lockwood.