HALIFAX centre Steve Tyrer is heading to Wembley no matter what happens on Saturday in Bolton.

The former Saints three-quarter, who still supports his hometown club, has already bought tickets with his mates for the trip to the Challenge Cup Final on August 24.

But that won’t stop him trying his hardest to help pull off the competition’s biggest shock ever.

Tyrer, who has been at Halifax for the past nine years after spells at Widnes, Crusaders and Salford, is relishing the prospect of facing the club he left in 2008.

Now a full-time plasterer and part-time player, 30-year-old Tyrer - like the rest of the Fax squad - has been balancing work with training ahead of this big game.

But there has been an extra spring in the step this week.

St Helens Star:

The former Blackbrook junior said: “When our name came out against Saints we were happy – it is like getting Liverpool in the FA Cup. It has that prestigious feel about it.

“Getting to the semi-final was an unbelievable feeling and now that we are here you have got to prepare to win the game; we are not just there to make up numbers.

“I know it is highly unlikely that we will win because Saints are so good, but we have a dream that we can do it.”

Tyrer first caught the eye with his footballing skills at a young age, and he was handed his debut by Daniel Anderson as a 17-year-old in that all-conquering 2006 team.

He went on to score 12 tries and chip over 54 goals in 22 appearances in the red vee, before being sent out on loan by Mick Potter.

He flitted around three clubs, but has settled down with Championship Halifax and aims to finish his career there.

But he still follows the Saints when he can - and has been impressed with the 2019 class.

“I have watched them quite a lot and against Wigan and Warrington it was clear they found it difficult to score against them so I was scratching my head wondering how we were going to manage it,” he said.

“I am kind of hoping that they just turn up expecting to win and if we can rattle them early doors with a few little things then maybe we could spook them.

“But being realistic – Saints will have to have a really bad day for us to get close to them.

"It can happen and we will prepare for it," he said.

St Helens Star: Steve Tyrer touches down for spectacular score

It has been business as usual for the Halifax players, who all have jobs outside of rugby, and Tyrer spent the swelteringly hot Tuesday plastering walls in Salford before heading over the Pennines to training.

Tyrer took up the trowel and mixing bath two years ago when he realised that the years had flown and he need a trade to go alongside his career and to continue with after he hangs up his boots.

He explains: "I only got into last couple of years – I was in my career cruising along, not thinking about the future and then it hit me that I needed to get myself sorted.

"I am 30 now and towards the back end. I needed to get a trade and got stuck into it."

Drawing Saints in the Challenge Cup has rekindled some of the Saints links 11 years since he was sent out on loan, never to return.

He looks back at his time at Saints, and the grounding it gave him, fondly - although leaving the club was difficult to really get to grips with for a spell.

"It has gone by with the click of a finger – obviously with this tie the Saints links have come back a little bit in recent weeks, but it is more than 10 years ago.

"It is frightening how quick the time goes by.

"From coming through at Saints at such a young age to where I am now has gone so fast.

"It initially hit me as a bit of a shock when I first left Saints.

"I had been in Daniel Anderson's squad when I broke through but when he left and Mick Potter came in that was the end of it for me really.

"I still had two years on my contract so I got sent out on loan.

"I have kept in touch with former teammates and when James Graham comes over we all have a big reunion to see each other.

"I went to the Challenge Cup with the Saints squad in 2006, 07 and 08 but not quite lucky enough to play. It was a good environment to be in at the time."

READ: Scully's column and Justin's smart move>

Having played Super League at such a young age, it was clearly a route he wanted to continue down even after leaving Saints - but it was tough.

And he admits that looking at everything through his Saints tinted spectacles - and that probably didn't help him appraise his situation and move forward.

St Helens Star: Ste Tyrer continues at centre

He admits: "You find yourself a little stuck up in a way because you find yourself comparing everything to what you have come through at St Helens.

"In my eyes nothing really matches Saints so it takes a while to lose that chip on your shoulder and realise where you are now.

"You have to start again and work hard. When I left Saints it was all about getting back into Super League for me but it didn’t really work out for me.

"After coming to Halifax in 2011 I haven’t even thought about it again – I have been so happy playing rugby league here, I have never looked back.

"I came up and just loved the place and I am still here now.

"It has become home for me now really and I will be finishing my career here as well. To be playing in this game for this club on Saturday is such a massive honour.

"It is a real rugby league hotbed.There are Halifax lads all the way through rugby league – playing for other clubs.

"It is a great family club with a supporters club who do what they can to get supporters.

"Hopefully one day I will get to see them back in Super League."

It is a real David and Goliath struggle - but one which could make for compelling viewing as the rest of the rugby league world will tune in to cheer the underdogs and see how they combat the Saints machine.

READ: Tommy Makinson on prospect of adding Wembley to Old Trafford and Anfield>

Tyrer believes having a new face from outside the top rung, competing at this showpiece, is good for the Challenge Cup and the game as a whole.

"I think it freshens it up a little bit.

"Don’t get me wrong – Saints v Wigan would have been a better semi-final, but a lot of people will watch this semi because they will be intrigued.

"A lot of people will want to see how we fare and watch us give it a good go.

"We are just going to enjoy the ride; hold on tight and see where it takes us.

"I will be there at Wembley anyway – and already have that trip sorted with my mates so I will probably lose money if we win – but that would be well worth it," he said.