‘Gashing hand while drunk to scoring cup final try – no journey to top is easy’

Just two months before the 2003 Challenge Cup final, I had been sat on my kitchen floor in a pool of blood.

The BBC will today look back at the most memorable final from each of the last five decades, and that game for Bradford Bulls was a pivotal one in my career.

Eight weeks earlier I’d put my right hand through a plate-glass window while I was drunk, cutting all the tendons in my arm and breaking my knuckles.

Not all journeys to the top are linear – mine certainly wasn’t and I had difficult times, including some self-inflicted ones like in 2003.

Rugby league players often have a bit of a wild streak in them – you need it to play the game – but that was no justification for my actions. It put me out for six weeks and I only returned to action for the semi-final against Wigan. In that match I got a really deep cut in my knee, ruling me out of the next game.

That meant that going into the final against Leeds in Cardiff I’d played only once in eight weeks.

But I trained so hard in that period because I felt I’d let everybody down – the club, my family and myself.

I was really motivated to come back and play well.

Leading into the game there was a lot of talk about Stuart Fielden being out and us not being able to handle their forwards without him, and that fired us up more.

There was also a big moment in the first half when Rob Burrow came on for them and got knocked out so he couldn’t play any further part – he could have had a real impact in the closing stages.

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