Five of the best Challenge Cup Final moments in history

The Challenge Cup Final will be held on Saturday afternoon as Huddersfield Giants take on Wigan Warriors at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It is the first time that the final has ever been played at the new venue with Wembley playing host to the football play-off final instead.

Looking back in time, however, just which five Challenge Cup moments stand out and will stand out forever?

Roger Millward plays on with broken jaw

After 15 minutes of the all Hull Challenge Cup Final in 1980, and in what was his first Wembley appearance, Hull KR captain-coach Roger Millward was hit late by Hull FC hooker Ronnie Wileman.

The impact broke his jaw but there was no way Millward would leave the biggest stage of his career. He got up, carried on and played the rest of the match and even slotted over a drop goal in the second-half.

That performance underlined the bravery and commitment to the cause and he has gone into legendary status in East Hull since then – and even better for him, KR went on to defeat arch-rivals Hull FC, 10-5.

Martin Offiah’s infamous try

Every player wants to perform heroics on the biggest stage of the game, few succeed but Martin Offiah certainly did.

This try could quite easily go down as one of the greatest of all time, not just in Challenge Cup Finals, and was the personification of Offiah as a rugby league player.

It combined strength to break through the first line of the Leeds defence, pace to take him beyond the rest of the defence into the wide open spaces of Wembley and awareness of the position of Leeds full back Alan Tait who he beat on the outside, seemingly, effortlessly.

First-ever Wembley hat-trick

The 95th Challenge Cup Final in 1996 was the 61st to have been held at Wembley and in all of those previous finals, no player had ever scored a hat-trick of tries.

Bradford Bulls’ Robbie Paul, however, would change that and become the first man to score three tries in a Challenge Cup Final, albeit on a losing side.

His first two tries were nothing out of the ordinary but his hat-trick try was true individual brilliance. Paul took the ball on the burst from 60 yards out and used his pace to hit the gaps in a tiring Saints’ defensive line before brilliantly changing direction to round Saints full-back Steve Prescott and dive in under the posts.

Although Paul has since been out done by Leroy Rivett, who scored four tries for Leeds against London Broncos in 1999, and another Leeds winger Tom Briscoe, who scored five tries in the resounding 50-0 win over Hull Kingston Rovers in 2015, it will always be Paul who is down in the history books as the first hat-trick scorer in a Challenge Cup Final.

Paul Cooke’s winning try

After a brilliant 34-8 win over favourites St Helens in the semi-final four weeks earlier, Hull FC went to their first Challenge Cup Final for 20 years as underdogs against Leeds Rhinos.

Coached by John Kear and led from the front by New Zealand international Richard Swain, Hull were expected to make up the numbers against 2004 Grand Final winners Leeds Rhinos.

However, mid-way through the second half the underdogs 18-12 lead was extended to 7 points by a Danny Brough drop goal which seemed to be the shock the Rhinos finally needed to get themselves out of first gear.

Converted tries from wingers Mark Calderwood and Marcus Bai gave the Rhinos a five-point lead heading into the final few minutes. However, Hull born Paul Cooke took a firm hold on proceedings. The ball went to the right with Cooke stood on the left side of the FC attack, in a planned move the ball was immediately switched back to Cooke who dummied from 10 yards out to go between two Leeds defender to score a brilliant try.

Brough converted to give FC a 25-24 lead. FC held the Rhinos out for the last few minutes to record a famous victory.

Greatest final upset ever

Has there ever been a greater upset in the Challenge Cup Final than Sheffield Eagles’ march to the title in 1998 against Wigan Warriors?

Nick Pinkney scored the first try after just four minutes of a final that Wigan were overwhelming favourites to win. However, the Eagles were never going to give up and they went on to record a 17-8 win over the Warriors who appeared shellshocked at the brilliance of their South Yorkshire opponents.

It is also an upset that will likely never be repeated!

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