Hull KR 16-17 Leigh Leopards: Highlights, Player Ratings and Talking Points

Leigh Leopards have won the 2023 Challenge Cup Final in the most dramatic way possible as they nailed a golden point drop goal to break Hull KR hearts and deliver a first Challenge Cup since 1971.


Asiata incident
After the semi-final, there has been so much focus on John Asiata’s tackle technique and when the Robins too exception to it in the final they conceded a penalty and the opening points.

Robins strike first
Elliot Minchella gave away that penalty but immediately made amends as he broke through and found Jez Litten in support to score.

Penalty try denied
A Tom Briscoe error nearly led to a Tom Opacic try as the ball was kicked ahead. Opacic was then tripped up by Lachlan Lam who went for the ball but it was deemed an accident and no penalty try was given.

Like for like
Leigh then said anything you can do we can do better as Kai O’Donnell broke through in similar fashion finding Lachlan Lam in support to score.

Yellow card
Minchella’s strange day kept going as he was penalised for a hit on Ben Reynolds and the Leopards took a 10-6 lead as Hull KR went down to 12 men.

Penalty for the Robins
Hull KR then nailed a penalty of their own on the stroke of halftime to make it 10-8.

Same again
The second half started as the first one ended with a Hull KR penalty as Hull KR drew level at 10-all.

Charnley close
It was then a very tense second half as neither side gave each other an inch. Try scoring sensation Josh Charnley had a chance when he got the ball wide but was held up.

Briscoe’s backyard
Tom Briscoe scores tries at Wembley like it’s his backyard. Today was his eighth Challenge Cup Final try in his fifth final appearance and his eighth in the last four. He struck a decisive blow in the corner for the Leopards after a sweeping move.

Last minute drama
With a minute and 15 seconds left, a kick was floated to the left hand side by Hull KR, it was challenged for and bounced down and grounded by Matt Parcell. After a long look by video referee Liam Moore the try was awarded and we headed for Golden Point.

Lam the hero
Then in golden point Lachlan Lam nailed the drop goal to give Leigh the greatest win of their modern history.

Talking Points:

Asiata saga
It will be interesting to see what happens in 2024 with tackles around the knees and ankles. Right now they are as legal as any other tackle but with these complaints maybe that will change.

Yellow card
A harsh call against Minchella in the eyes of many but the way the game is currently officiated in 2023.

Penalty try conundrum
Hull KR have every right to be aggrieved by this decision but it would have been incredibly harsh to give a penalty try.

Both sides had chances to strike a decisive blow and win the game but for so long in the contest they missed out. Perhaps a lack of experience?

A fresh final
It did feel incredibly fresh seeing these two battle for a trophy and none of the big teams.

Late drama
This is what we want from finals, last minute drama and that is what we got. The video referee call was vital but didn’t matter.

Player Ratings:

Hull KR
20 Mikey Lewis – 7
2 Ethan Ryan – 6
3 Tom Opacic – 7
4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall – 8
5 Ryan Hall – 8
37 Brad Schneider – 7
21 Rowan Milnes – 6
15 Rhys Kennedy – 7
14 Jez Litten – 8
10 George King – 7
16 James Batchelor – 7
12 Kane Linnett – 7
13 Elliot Minchella – 8
9 Matt Parcell – 8
17 Matty Storton – 6
22 Dean Hadley – 6
26 Sam Luckley – 7

Leigh Leopards
17 Gareth O’Brien – 7
2 Tom Briscoe – 8
1 Zak Hardaker – 8
3 Ed Chamberlain – 7
5 Josh Charnley – 7
15 Ben Reynolds – 7
7 Lachlan Lam – 9
8 Tom Amone – 7
9 Edwin Ipape – 8
10 Rob Mulhern – 7
24 Kai O’Donnell – 8
12 Jack Hughes – 7
13 John Asiata – 7
6 Joe Mellor – 6
16 Oliver Holmes – 6
14 Ben Nakubuwai – 6
18 Matty Davis – 6