Aiton hopes Wembley final will be a family affair

Friday, 22, August, 2014
Paul Aiton in action for his country

Leeds Rhinos’ Paul Aiton admits his family now face a race against time to watch him in Saturday’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium connected by EE after his sister gave birth.

The Papua New Guinea international was expecting his entire family to witness him run out under the arch at the weekend but, after they flocked to his sister’s bedside to celebrate the birth of her child, Aiton admits things are now touch and go.

“My brother could be flying in from Australia last minute because my sister just had a baby so it’s a bit mental at home at the moment,” said the Leeds lock.

“So it could be last minute if they all get here.”

It could be a historic weekend for Aiton as he aims to be the first Papua New Guinea born player to play at Wembley Stadium.

And the Rhinos’ man admits it would mean a lot to achieve such a record.

“I’ll be the first Papau New Guinea guy to play there so I’m pretty proud and I hope heaps of people back home get the chance to watch the game and appreciate this competition,” he said.

“I think the game is on pay TV back home but I’m sure a lot of people will be gathering round whoever has got it and watching the game.”

Leeds confirmed their place in the final with a 24-16 victory over Warrington Wolves on 9 August and Aiton admits that, since then, keeping his mind off the trip to Wembley has proved tricky.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve tried not to think about it and focus on the games at hand but now I’m just trying not to get too excited too early,” said Aiton with a smile.

“When I go home I try not to get caught up in all the hype but instead I try thinking about what I’ve got to do in the game.

“But I’m also trying not to play my game before the match actually starts.”