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Former Sky Sports figure slams “sour grapes” from the media after Leigh Leopards and Hull KR reached Challenge Cup Final 

It’s back to Super League action tonight with St Helens set to face Leeds Rhinos but the action from the weekend in the Challenge Cup still garners attention and rightly so.

Leigh Leopards edged out St Helens and they now head to Wembley looking to lift the Cup for the first time since 1971, whilst the second semi-final saw Hull KR defeat holders Wigan Warriors in golden point courtesy of a Brad Schneider drop goal.

That gives Rovers an opportunity to lift the Cup for the first time since 1980 having defeated the ‘Cup Kings’ in Wigan, who not only are the reigning champions but the side who have lifted it on the most occasions.

Many fans have speculated that it will be a brilliant occasion at the final with two teams headed to Wembley that don’t often make it, but that hasn’t stopped the controversy surrounding the results with both of the pre-match favoirites losing and arguably being on the end of contentious decisions.

The prime examples were Sione Mata’utia seeing yellow for a high shot and Joe Shorrocks seeing red for something similar.

That’s been rubbished as “sour grapes” by legendary commentator Mike Stephenson, who expressed the opinions on his and former colleague Eddie Hemmings’ ‘Eddie and Stevo’ podcats.

“Well, I suppose in many ways it’s sour grapes. To be fair, the losing side, they made no complaints about it at all. It’s the media situation that we’ve got now.

“We used to have to wait until the following Monday to pick up the papers. Now everybody’s on websites doing this, that and the other, they’re all making claims about and it just explodes into something.

“Look, the referee has got full control of that. There’s no amount of, shall we say, responsibility. He makes the decision and that was it.”

Referencing the incident that saw Zak Hardaker touch down after Tom Briscoe barged Tee Ritson out of the way, he looked to the law book.

“Now, the laws of the game state that if two players from either side are running in the same direction, you can use your shoulder to push the player away,” Stevo explained.

“Obviously that has been what the video referee said, that’s okay by me. And that’s it. Listen, the results are there. It won’t change it.”

On the controversy in the Hull KR and Wigan game many fans were baffled as to how Mikey Lewis stayed on the pitch after the challenge that saw Joe Shorrocks red carded.

Stevo disagreed, explaining: “Yeah, but look, HIA has got nothing to do with the fact that the referee has got full control and his opinion was that it was such a bad shoulder into the face of Mikey Lewis that it’s a red card.

“You can’t try to blame something else saying ‘well you know Mikey Lewis didn’t go for an HIA’. That’s got nothing to do with it!

“In the eyes of the referee who is in full control he thought it was a send off and that’s it a red card and they can go on and complain forget about it it’s all done and dusted it’s fish and chip paper isn’t it.”

Stevo quite brilliantly summed it up in his comical fashion in regards to the fans who bemoaned the decison.

“The fact that it doesn’t matter whether you get 400 people saying it was a disgrace, it was awful, it shouldn’t have been sent off, etc and so forth. It was off! Red card! There’s only one man in charge, and that’s a man with a whistle. See you later, alligator!”

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