Bulls captain Matt Diskin admits he would love to add a Challenge Cup winners’ medal to his trophy cabinet in what could be his final crack at the famous old competition.
Diskin will lead the Bulls out against Warrington in Sunday’s quarter-final having never won the Challenge Cup and been a losing finalist on three occasions.
The hooker, who could retire at the end of the season, won four Grand Finals with Leeds but tasted defeat in the 2003, 2005 and 2010 Challenge Cup finals at the hands of Bradford, Hull FC and Warrington.
Although Super League survival remains the overwhelming priority, Diskin is dreaming of staying up and reaching Wembley.
“During my career I’ve played in some fantastic sides who have gone on to achieve some great things and won numerous finals,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have played in three Challenge Cup finals – the unlucky side is that I have yet to pick up a winners’ medal.
“It’s proved an elusive trophy and now, coming into the twilight of my career, there aren’t going to be many more opportunities to get my hands on it. Therefore you’ve got to take your chances when you get them.
“Super League survival is by far and away the most important goal this season but it would be fantastic to do that and reach the latter stages of the Challenge Cup.”
Asked whether he could hang up his boots at the end of the season, 32-year-old Diskin said: “Potentially. I’m undecided at the moment and have had a year or two of constantly carrying niggles, so I need to make sure I don’t tread that fine line of going a year too far.
“I need to sit down with Franny (Cummins) to see what his plans are, as well as my wife to discuss my own plans, and then come to a decision which I’ll probably make in the next month or two.
“I’m enjoying my rugby this season and we’ve got a good culture here which has been bred from all the adversity we have faced.”
Diskin has helped out with the Bulls’ under-19s this season and admits coaching could be an option for him upon retirement – but right now he is focused on playing matters.
The former Leeds academy graduate has required pain-killing injections in his feet in recent weeks but he enjoyed an outstanding game during last Sunday’s vital win over Wakefield.
Diskin, who played for just over 60 minutes, said: “I did enjoy it but, looking at the finer details in review, I wasn’t happy with my performance.
“Statistically I was down in some areas where I have been very consistent all year, so I need to improve on that massively, especially going into this week’s game.
“But overall it was a good performance and to play behind such a powerful pack was really pleasing and allowed me to have some fun.
“We’ve had some fantastic wins this year but some dire losses too, so let’s just hope we have some luck on our side regarding injuries for the rest of the season and get some form together.
“We don’t want to be looking back at the end of the year and picking excuses out. We want to have the best crack possible and the fairest crack too.”
In Sunday’s quarter-final tie, Diskin will cross swords with Warrington hooker Michael Monaghan, who has announced he will retire at the end of the current season.
The 34-year-old Australian has featured in three Challenge Cup-winning sides since joining the Wolves from Manly in 2008, making 183 appearances in total and scoring 33 tries.
Monaghan won the Lance Todd Trophy for his man-of-the-match display in the 2009 cup final and has also twice been a losing Super League Grand Finalist.
Diskin said: “He’s a fantastic player and very elusive out of dummy half for Warrington.
“When he hangs up his boots he can look back on what has been a fantastic career. We need to be watching him closely this weekend – but we’re confident after beating Wakefield.”