‘It is extra special’ - Wakefield Trinity try hero Jermaine McGillvary revels in first Wembley appearance in final year

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Jermaine McGillvary claimed it was an “extra special” feeling to score two tries in Wakefield Trinity’s 50-6 thrashing of Sheffield Eagles in the 1895 Cup final at Wembley.

The experienced winger, who turned 36 last month, despite a distinguished career at the top level in rugby league, had never, before yesterday evening’s showpiece occasion, played at the national stadium.

McGillvary could have hung up his boots after spending 16 seasons at his hometown club, Huddersfield Giants. While there, where he was also called up to England and Great Britain, he had never experienced the honour of gracing Wembley’s famous turf.

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But his move to Wakefield for this 2024 campaign - in what will be his final year as a professional player - has proved to be an immensely successful one.

Jermaine McGillvary flies over for a try at Wembley in the 1895 Cup final for Wakefield Trinity.Jermaine McGillvary flies over for a try at Wembley in the 1895 Cup final for Wakefield Trinity.
Jermaine McGillvary flies over for a try at Wembley in the 1895 Cup final for Wakefield Trinity.

He told the Wakefield Express: “I have played many international games and I have played a lot of games in my career but I had never been to Wembley.

“I was watching the Challenge Cup final and I was getting nervous and scared then. But I am so glad that I got the opportunity to play at Wembley and it was even better to get the win.

“I was thinking about retiring when I left Huddersfield at the end of last season as I couldn’t think of going to another club and starting again and trying to be a part of a group. But the boys and the coaching staff have made it so easy for me here.

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“It’s never easy coming to a new club, injured as well. My pride was kind of broken a little bit, to leave my hometown club, but I could not have picked a better club and a better bunch of boys, I really mean that. I am able to be myself around them. They have given me so much.

“I will miss this changing room when I retire as this group is a special group. I am really looking forward to finishing the season on a high and seeing where this club goes in the next five to ten years. They have got good ownership and a good group of staff behind them as well.”

McGillvary’s star performance, in which he bulldozed his way to two superbly taken second half tries, was watched by family members.

He said: “It is extra special, especially to do it in front of the fans and my family. My grandma came down, my mum, my mum’s husband, my missus, my three boys. To play at Wembley, in my last year of my career and to score two tries in front of them, is extra special.

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“Wakey haven’t been here for 45 years, so it’s special and I am really proud to be a part of it.”

Talking his way through his sensational second try, the last of Trin’s nine tries in the final, he revealed;

“I saw everyone coming round and I thought, ‘I’m going to try.’ I didn’t think I was going to make it. I have slowed down a little bit at my age, I’m 36 now, but I got there in the end!

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“You know what, it is something I will probably look back on. I am more proud to get the win and some silverware in my last year though.”

Asked where the day ranks in his career, he replied:

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“It’s up there. I have played for England, I have played for Great Britain in test series. I have won a League Leaders at Huddersfield, that was special as well because we hadn’t won something for so long.

“It’s the same with Wakey. I feel like I am part of history with this great bunch of players and staff. It is right up there for me.”

Wakey’s last Wembley final was in 1979 and their last win at the iconic stadium came in 1963. McGillvary, who admitted he will continue to support the club when he does retire at the end of the season, believes fans won;t have to wait as long for more success.

He said: “I can’t wait to sit in the stands and be watching in five to ten years time with what Matt (Ellis, owner) can bring to this club, and with Powelly (Daryl Powell). They are building something special. I am just happy to have been there at the start.

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“I am definitely going to be a Wakey fan and watching when I can. Hopefully they can then win something a lot bigger than this, maybe the Challenge Cup, maybe the Grand Final, who knows. The opportunity is there with the infrastructure and what they are building, it can happen. I want to be in the stands wand watch that.

“It should be special, especially with the players they have already signed. Every Wakey fan should be excited with what is going on. As we get into Super League next season I hope they come out even more.

“I can’t wait for when there is no pressure on me to perform, to be able to sit back in the stands and get behind this team. Something special is going to happen. I just hope the fans can see that and get behind that.”

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