Chris Kendall and Jack Smith selected to take charge of finals this week

This weekend Leeds Rhinos, St Helens, Leigh Leopards, Hull KR, Halifax Panthers and Batley Bulldogs are headed to Wembley for the finals day at the country’s primary stadium and the spiritual home of the Challenge Cup Final after a brief move to the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium for Wigan Warriors vs Huddersfield Giants last year.

The opening game is the rematch of the 2022 Women’s Challenge Cup Final between holders St Helens and Leeds as Saints go for three in a row. These two have won the last four Challenge Cup Finals between them.

Then the main event as Leigh Leopards and Hull KR do battle for the Men’s Challenge Cup with both clubs looking to end long waits to lift the trophy.

Meanwhile, the action concludes between Halifax Panthers and Batley Bulldogs for the 1895 Cup.

Now the referee appointments have been confirmed.

Chris Kendall, James Vella and Jack Smith have been appointed as the three men in the middle for Betfred Challenge Cup Finals Day at Wembley on Saturday.

Kendall will take charge of his first Betfred Challenge Cup Final when Hull KR face Leigh Leopards. The 31-year-old, who came through the Huddersfield Refereeing Society, has a host of big-match experience, including consecutive Betfred Super League Grand Finals in 2019 and 2020 – and has been touch judge and video referee in previous Challenge Cup Finals, as well as refereeing at Wembley in the inaugural AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final in 2019.

Liam Moore will be the video referee, with Richard Thompson and Jonny Roberts as touch judges, Marcus Griffiths the reserve referee, and Liam Rush the reserve touch judge. David Milburn will be the Match Commissioner, and Peter Taberner the timekeeper.

James Vella, an Australian who has earned a place in the RFL’s squad of full-time match officials since arriving in England four years ago, has been given the historic responsibility of refereeing the first Women’s Challenge Cup Final to be played at Wembley, between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens.

He will have Tom Grant as his video referee, Ryan Cox and Denton Arnold as touch judges, with Matty Lynn the reserve referee and Andy Smith the reserve touch judge. Dave Moss will be the Match Commissioner, and Aileen Mills the timekeeper.

Jack Smith has been appointed to referee the fourth AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final, between Batley Bulldogs and Halifax Panthers. The former Royal Marine Commando, who took up refereeing after being shot through the chest by a Taliban sniper in Afghanistan in 2010, returned to the full-time squad in 2022 – and was a touch judge in last year’s Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Warren Turley and Cameron Worsley will be the touch judges, and Matty Lynn and Andy Smith will be in-goal judges as there have been no video referees in the 1895 Cup this season. Aaron Moore will be the reserve referee, with Dave Moss and Aileen Mills Match Commissioner and timekeeper respectively.

In addition, a squad of six young officials has been announced for the first of Saturday’s four Wembley Finals, the inspiresport Champion Schools Final for Year Seven Boys, between Bedford High School of Leigh, and Archbishop Sentamu Academy in east Hull – with roles to be allocated on the eve of the match.