SAINTS prop Alex Walmsley has to pinch himself when he walked out at Wembley for yesterday’s captain’s run – recalling that only seven years ago he was carting the ball up in cattle fields in and around Dewsbury.

Come 3pm today there will be no more dreams, as Walmsley leads the charge against Warrington in the showpiece Challenge Cup Final against Warrington.

It is Saints’ first appearance at the national stadium since 2008, and a maiden final appearance for all bar James Roby.

Understandably the excitement rippled around the camp when the players took the field for yesterday’s familiarisation exercise on the sun-baked Wembley turf.

Walmsley said: “I am really excited to be playing here for the first time. I have been down here as a spectator but never as a player. So both as an individual and as a team we are really excited.”

Saints go into the game as favourites – but this is a one-off test, but one Walmsley is comfortable with after winning all the big games so far this term.

“It sounds cliché, but we have done it all season and got up for the big games. We are expecting a tough battle, it is important that we don’t let the occasion get the better of us – but also important that we rise to it.

“If we are going to be classed as favourites we don’t mind that. But we know come kick off that goes out of the window and Warrington may have had a few bad weeks in the Super League but this is a new competition, form goes out of the window. It is 17 against 17.

“Both sides are packed with internationals and superstars and it is going to be an unbelievable final and great for the spectators.”

With temperatures on the pitch expected to top 30, it could be a massive test for the players and the water carriers, but Walmsley did not seem overly concerned.

“We are a fit side and we play well in the heat, whether it is 30 or 10 degrees it will be the same for both sides. What will be, will be,” he said.

Walmsley last visited Wembley as a spectator in 2013, in the dour, rain-lashed Wigan v Hull clash.

“It was my first season as a Super League player and although the conditions were poor I knew that this is where I wanted to be.

“Coming here is incredible – I was only talking about it last night that seven years ago I was knocking about in front of 200 people at Dewsbury park and playing in cow fields, to be walking on the greatest stage in the country I have to pinch myself,” he said.

And there will be one player who will be in their thoughts for the game – Matty Lees, who has played outstanding all year but suffered an awful injury which needed surgery on his intestine area.

“We are gutted for Matty Lees – he has been unbelievable this year. We are gutted he is not part of this playing squad and we are going to make sure we will win a trophy for him,” Walmsley said.