Hull KR's Jez Litten returning to scene of toughest times in full circle moment

On Saturday, Doncaster could become the scene of a career highlight for Jez Litten, having been the location of the toughest part of his career to date. The Hull KR star will return to the Eco-Power Stadium, looking to secure a second trip to Wembley in his career.

Litten has emerged as a top talent at Craven Park and is now a regular starting for a Robins side competing at the top of Super League. But it's not too long since Rovers' number nine was playing in the third tier for the Dons, with his career struggling to take off.

The 26-year-old found himself back and forth between Hull FC and Doncaster at the time, playing as many games in the part-time ranks as he did in the Super League. It was a difficult period for the hooker, who found himself questioning whether his aspirations of having a career in the game were going to materialise.

"I could have gone two ways," he said. "I was down in the dumps for a bit, away from FC, training at Doncaster, and playing games. That was a bump in the road.

"You're coming to train with part-time players, and you're wondering if that's where you're at. I was young at the time and looking to make a career, so you have those doubts. We had a great team and were doing well, but you wonder if your standards are going to drop, and this is where I'm going to be. You question yourself, and it was a tough time for me.

"But I believed hard work would get me through it, and I came out on the other side. I think if it had gone on a little longer, it might have been different, but there was an injury at Hull, and I was back in the team. Little things can happen in sports; you can go one week and be down in the dumps, and the next week you can be back playing at the top level. It was mad; I was just lucky enough to get that opportunity."

That grounding has helped Litten remain focused as his career has catapulted to a new level.

"We played a couple of games away, at stadiums where there's not really much there and the standards are a bit amateurish," he said. "But it was a tough league, you'd come off knowing you'd been in a game against some big men and skillful players.

"I can look back now and say that's where I don't want to be. I've never taken this for granted, but if ever there was a time I did, I could look back and say I got here through hard work and that's what I've been built on, through my family. And that's what Willie is built on, hard work, and if you drop those standards, you'll drop off as a player.

"I enjoyed my time here, don't get me wrong, and it will be mad to play on this pitch when five years ago I was doing the same in League 1. It's a great stadium and you can't take these things for granted, you don't know how often they're going to come up. Just looking at the trophy over there, it would be a dream come true to lift it. I can't wait.

Litten isn't the only one to climb the divisions and find himself on the big stage with Rovers, either.

"I remember Bradford coming here and Mini was playing and a few of the other lads who have been at the club," he said. "They hammered us, actually. They've had the same journey that I had, and it's special that we have worked hard, come to Hull KR, know where we've been and what it means to play in games like this. It would be special to do it with those boys who've been on that journey from League 1. To come through and get to Wembley would be special."

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