Leigh Leopards won the 2023 Challenge Cup Final against Hull KR in the first final without Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and St Helens since 1986.
Leigh have been defying the odds in 2023. Newly promoted, they were expected to be in a relegation battle.
Instead they sit third, joint second in fact with rivals Wigan, and have just won the Challenge Cup.
A long way from the Championship and the 1895 Cup Final they won a year ago.
But the question now is can they win Super League?
On what next for Leigh, Jamie Jones-Buchanan said on BBC:
“You look at Leigh, their players. I say put your tin hats on and hold onto them because they have done this today, they are third in Super League and there is no ceiling to where they could go.”
Jamie Peacock even hinted that they could win Super League: “I think the question now is have they got the ability to do this regularly? They have got a chance if doing it without a doubt and upsetting the Status Quo.
“That’s what we want to see, a different team win the Challenge Cup and a different team to win Super League.”
It was a great game as Hull KR struck first. Elliot Minchella gave away that penalty but immediately made amends as he broke through and found Jez Litten in support to score.
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.
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.
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.
Hull KR then nailed a penalty of their own on the stroke of halftime to make it 10-8.
The second half started as the first one ended with a Hull KR penalty as Hull KR drew level at 10-all.
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.
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.
But that try was cancelled out when Parcell touched down to score in the 79th minute after a kick bounced off Zak Hardaker.
However, in the end it was Leigh who will lift the Challenge Cup after a golden point drop goal from Lachlan Lam won the game for the club.