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Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook out to pull the crowds in at Wembley

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook out to pull the crowds in at Wembley
© Reuters
St Helens' London-born forward has bought almost 100 Challenge Cup final tickets for family and friends in the capital.

Londoner Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook is doing his bit to boost the crowd for Saturday's Coral Challenge Cup final at Wembley by selling tickets to an army of family and friends.

The 2018 final drew just 50,672 spectators for the clash between Warrington and Catalans Dragons, the lowest Wembley attendance since 1937, which was largely responsible for the Rugby Football League reporting a loss of £327,000 for the year.

However, the governing body are sure to be in pocket after Saturday's meeting of the top two teams in Super League, St Helens and Warrington, and McCarthy-Scarsbrook is reporting a roaring trade of his own.

"I've bought 99 so far for family and extended family, more extended family and then friends," said the 33-year-old Saints forward, who has spent the last nine years striving to reach Wembley.

"If Catalans didn't beat us last year, they would have had a good crowd then!

"It's just trying to get the money off the family and friends, that's the hard bit."

McCarthy-Scarsbrook is a true Cockney, having been born at London Hospital in Mile End, within earshot of the Bow Bells. After spending five seasons with London Broncos, then known as Harlequins RL, he made the move to St Helens in the hope of winning major silverware.

"It's been a long wait, nine years," he said. "I've played two Grand Finals with them but this is the one that I've always hoped and wished for and I just can't wait."

As a Millwall supporter, McCarthy-Scarsbrook is no stranger to Wembley and has watched on in envy as his heroes strut their stuff on the famous turf.

"I've been there a couple of times to watch them – I saw them beat Swindon to get into the Championship so that was a good memory – and I went to watch Arsenal play Man Utd in the Community Shield at the old Wembley," he said.

"It goes through your mind how awesome it would be to run around on the pitch where greats have played. It's one of the stadiums where you go past and you go 'wow, look at that'.

"I dropped the missus and the babies and boys down south at their nan's and, as I was getting the train out, I went past it and just looked up and thought 'I'll be there next week'."

McCarthy-Scarsbrook admits he will be hit by nerves ahead of the game, into which St Helens will go as strong favourites against a Warrington team they have beaten three times already this season.

"I've waited to play in this for so long, you'd be lying if you said you're not nervous when you go out and the crowd is roaring," he said.

"It just comes down to whichever team settles first and gets in their stride first.

"We've performed to an exceptional level in the league this year and the table shows how far ahead we are but to be known as one of the great teams you have to come away with silverware. Second doesn't get you anything in this sport."

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