17th July 2018, 07:50 | ChallengeCup
Jonny Lomax was once a fan standing in the terraces supporting the white and reds; he’s supported his side from Wembley to Murrayfield, this year, Lomax will have his shot at playing in front of the Saints fans at Wembley – first they have to get past Catalans Dragons.
Saints will face Catalans Dragons at the home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, Macron Stadium, in a double header which will see Warrington Wolves take on Leeds Rhinos, the two winners will then go head to head for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at Wembley Stadium.
Jonny Lomax made his debut for St Helens in 2009, the year before, Saints won the Challenge Cup for a third consecutive season, they have not appeared at the Challenge Cup final since then and it’s a dream that Lomax wants to fulfil.
“They’re the games you want to strive to play in when you’re playing professionally, it’s something I’ve dreamt of and hopefully we can put in a good performance against Catalans.
“There’s still a big game to go and Catalans are playing fantastic at the moment, having grown up being a Saints fan, I’ve got memories of going down to Wembley when I was younger, and going over to Murrayfield for one as well – it’s a fantastic experience,” Lomax said.
One of Lomax’s first games for Saints came in the Challenge Cup against Gateshead Thunder, now known as Newcastle Thunder, Saints won the game 66-6 and went onto the semi-final before losing to Huddersfield Giants 24-14.
“For me there’s a romance of the Challenge Cup, it was one of my first games for Saints, each game I got I thought it was something that I had worked hard for and I needed certain luck to go my way to get that opportunity.
“I just wanted to enjoy every minute of it, on the day I was playing outside of Matt Gidley which wasn’t too bad!
“It was great, and I just wanted to make sure that I enjoyed it and took it all in,” the England international said.
Every Rugby League player has to start somewhere; for Lomax it was Orrell St James, a family tradition to play Rugby, he played for them from the age of seven before signing for Saints at 16.
“I used to play football but my Dad and Grandad had always played Rugby, they were involved at Orrell St James when they were younger, so they took me down to one session and I enjoyed it so I just started playing alongside football.
“Eventually I just decided that I enjoyed playing Rugby more so carried on playing down Orrell.”
Orrell St James beat Northampton Demons in the first round of the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, in the second round they narrowly lost 8-6 to Kells: “I went and watched them in the first round and saw them win, the second game they played was up in Cumbria so I couldn’t make that game.”
He added: “I think there’s a love for the Challenge Cup from being young; that’s what you dream to do, you want to win it, I’ve been to finals when I watched St Helens when I was younger.
“I think for some of the Orrell lads that haven’t kicked on to playing full-time, to be a part of the Challenge Cup history and trying to get a couple of wins to have the opportunity to play some of the top teams is great.
“It’s a bit like the love of the FA Cup in football and why they have a love for that.”