LEIGH’S Papua New Guinea international hooker Edwin Ipape gets to run in the footsteps of his legendary compatriot Stanley Gene when he lines up in Saturday’s AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final.

For in the 1997 Plate Final – a forerunner to the 1895 Cup - at Wembley, Gene turned on the style with a hat-trick in Hull KR’s win.

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Now the stage is set at Spurs for Ipape to write his own lines in what will be a game where much more than the trophy is at stake.

Leigh and Featherstone have assembled stellar squads and both are on a mission to get into Super League.

The team that does the lap of honour around the ground on Saturday will have a massive psychological boost when it comes to taking that spot.

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Ipape said: “It is more than just a cup final because of the rivalry and everything that is going on this year.

“They are leading the comp, we are second so it is going to be a big game for us.

“Although I understand they beat us in the second round of the Championship, coming into this final we are a different team and we believe that this game will show how much we have built and where we are as a team now.”

Leigh have scoured the world for talent, and that includes hooker Ipape who first caught the eye of British rugby league watchers when he darted 65 metres for the Kumuls’ game changing score in the 2019 win against Great Britain.

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Blake Ferguson, who scored four tries on his Leigh debut, added to that strength.

“We have some quality players in the team,” said the 23-year-old from Mount Hagen who admitted to not needing much persuasion when PNG legend Adrian Lam called him about the opportunity at LSV.

“Everyone has bought into the culture that the coaching staff, especially Lammy, have tried to build into the team.

“We have recruited well and that is working for us. Again the boys have worked really hard to be in this position.”

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And he is loving life in the south Lancashire town, where the passions of the fans for rugby league match his own.

“It has been amazing so far and I have loved every minute of it, the boys, the people and the community – everything has been going well.

“The crowd at Leigh are passionate – and I love that because I am passionate about the rugby too. Just hearing them singing and chanting and all kinds of things makes you feel that your time and effort has been appreciated.”

Pictures: SWpix.com