Jamie Peacock is hoping his Leeds teammates can transfer the Indian sign they have over St Helens in Grand Finals into the Challenge Cup when they meet in today's first semi-final at Huddersfield. While the Rhinos have enjoyed the better of their Super League showdowns, with three consecutive Old Trafford triumphs, Saints have dominated their Challenge Cup clashes, with five wins from their last six meetings, three of them semi-finals, and it is 11 years since Leeds last lifted the famous knockout trophy.
Currently lying fifth in the league after an indifferent season by their own standards, the cup probably represents the Yorkshire club's best chance of silverware and Peacock acknowledges that the next few weeks will be crucial in their bid to land the elusive double. "We need to get back to being able to win big games," said the England captain. "For us it's like play-off football all the time now.
"There is nothing for losing this week and the week after we need to beat Cas to stay in fourth or fifth and it's like that every week. Realistically, we've got six to eight weeks of must-win football. "The Challenge Cup probably holds a special place for St Helens, who have been very successful in it and you grow an affection for it. Hopefully we'll be able to turn it around on Saturday. "The last time we played St Helens in the cup we were probably over-cooked as a team.
"We were struggling a bit for form and probably built the game up to be too big an occasion. Hopefully we'll be a bit more relaxed going into this game." Meanwhile, Mick Potter, coming to the end of his two-year stint at the helm at Knowsley Road, is in danger of becoming the first St Helens coach to fail to pick up silverware in the summer era. Shaun McRae did the double at the start of Super League in 1996, successor Ellery Hanley won the 1999 Grand Final, Ian Millward lifted five major trophies in five years and Daniel Anderson guided the team to three consecutive Cup final victories before leaving in 2008.
In Potter's first season St Helens failed for the first time for six years to lift a trophy but the unflappable Australian remains unconcerned, knowing that he still has two chances to put the record straight. They are still in contention in Super League and victory in their 10th successive Challenge Cup semi-final would take them through to their ninth final of the summer era. "Trophies are something the club are really big on," said Potter, who will take over at Bradford next season. Everyone loves to win and I would love to leave St Helens at the end of the year with some silverware. But whatever will happen, will happen.
"I don't need any extra motivation. I play to win whatever the game is and so does everyone here. We've got a top quality group of players and there's an expectation to win things. "It will be out of my control once the players get out there. I know the players will give their all and we're very hopeful, very optimistic and very determined. We've a chance." In last night's Super League action the Celtic Crusaders recorded a come-from-behind victory to beat Harlequins 16-12 at home. Quins opened the scoring through Jamie O'Callaghan on 13 minutes before Rhys Hanbury levelled the scores at 4-4 six minutes later.
Ben Jones-Bishop restored the Quins' four-point advantage eight minutes before half time and Danny Orr added the extras with the conversion. Orr's penalty nine minutes from time made it 12-4 and sparked a late scoring frenzy from the Crusaders, with Jason Chan and Hanbury both crossing the whitewash and Clinton Schifcofske slotting over a conversion. * Agency