THE idea of playing for York City Knights at Wembley Stadium would have seemed like a pipe dream for Kriss Brining at the beginning of his career with the club.

Brining debuted York as a 17-year-old back in 2011 and was at the club through its most difficult moments.

The Knights were relegated to League One, played at amateur grounds and threatened by closure during the hooker’s first spell, before he made the switch to Super League outfit Salford Red Devils.

Upon his return in 2019, York are in markedly different circumstances. They are now fully established as a promotion-contender from the Betfred Championship under the tutelage of talented head coach James Ford.

And, as confirmed after the weekend’s win over Swinton Lions, they now have an 1895 Cup final against Featherstone Rovers to look forward to at Wembley, the club’s first appearance at the national ground since 1931.

“It’s a weird feeling but it’s a good feeling,” said Brining.

“A lot of the boys here never thought that we’d have the chance to go to Wembley so I’m really excited and I can’t wait.

“On a personal level, it’s massive and the boys are really excited to get there. Hopefully we are able to win some silverware this year, which would be massive for the club.

“I’ve been here a long time and it’ll be great to see the fans at Wembley.”

Reflecting on the club’s journey from amateur grounds to Wembley, Brining said: “There were plenty of good people at the club when I was (first) there and the things that were happening off the field, that was out of our control.

“Heworth and York Rugby Union put us up when we didn’t have anywhere else to go.

“We didn’t mind where we were playing and the fans still came and we were thankful to those clubs for giving us somewhere to play.

“But now we’re now we’re in a world-class facility and we’re happy to be here.”

After several weeks of behind-closed-doors matches amid the coronavirus restrictions, normality is finally beginning to emerge as fans enter the LNER Community Stadium for the first time.

“It’s nice to be in the new stadium now and it feels like a bit of a homecoming with the fans back in now,” said Scarborough-born Brining.

“Games like the Hull FC one were really weird because there was no one here. But now it’s great to have the fans back.

“I played at the Huntington Stadium for a few years and then we were here, there and everywhere.

“To finally be at the Community Stadium, with fans in, winning games to take us to Wembley, it’s what we’ve been striving towards.”

Against Swinton, Brining was named the club’s man of the match as he came off the bench to make an immediate impact with his trademark dummy-half darts.

It was then his early second-half try that looked to have secured the victory.

“Speaking personally and for the bench as a whole, for the past couple of games we haven’t given that much and I think that has let us down,” said the 27-year-old.

“To have a decent performance from the bench was much-needed.

“I thought Swinton played really well and we played well in parts, but I still think that we’ve got plenty left to give.

“I don’t think we’ve clicked yet but it will come, we’ve just got to keep sticking to it.”