In the first Challenge Cup Final without Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and St Helens since 1986, Leigh Leopards defeated Hull KR to claim their first Challenge Cup since 1971.
It wasn’t a shock either. The Leopards are well in the race for a spot in the top two and even top spot itself.
They are a great side who have the ability to go all the way and win the treble.
Can they win the treble then and become the first side to do so since 2015?
Well Sky Sports have asked that question and over 100 people believe they could with 11% of over a thousand votes saying yes.
Will Leigh win the treble this season?
— Sky Sports Rugby League (@SkySportsRL) August 19, 2023
A massive fixture given the positions of both sides, it could be crucial in the race for the top two but also top spot and the League Leaders’ Shield.
In a great boost for the sport, the game is not only being shown on Sky Sports Arena – it’s usual home – but Sky Sports Main Event.
This means it will reach fans who only pay for Main Event and a more mainstream audience.
Often Main Event is reserved for football so it is great to see that rugby league will be taking centre stage even after the start of the Premier League season.
In last night’s Sky game, Wakefield started brightly, and looked like drawing first blood in the game; however Jordan Turner thought otherwise and drags Josh Griffin into touch. From the following set the Fords break down the field, and Miller’s pinpoint cross-field kick is swatted into Tasipale’s hands for the first of the night.
On his second debut for the Trin, Josh Griffin thought he had scored his side’s first try; however it was ruled out by the video referee due to Matty Ashurst’s involvement.
A sweeping move through the Wakefield backline found the ball in Max Jowitt’s hands, and the full back broke through a gap in the Castleford defence to pull his side back within two points.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again; and Josh Griffin did exactly this as he crashed over from short range to give his side the lead. A delayed pass from Mason Lino created a hole for the former Hull FC man, and there’s no stopping him out from that range.
A monstrous kick from Blake Austin caused havoc for Tom Lineham, who knocks on. This scrum gives the Fords the perfect chance to score, and later on in the set they work it back on the left edge and Greg Eden reaches out to put his side back in front.
In the dying embers of the first half, Greg Eden gets his second. A knock-on from Griffin again puts the Tigers in great field position, and a strike move gets the ball through the hands and Eden scampers over in the corner.
Elliot Wallis turns defence into attack in the blink of an eye as he breaks from deep in his own half. He then connects beautifully with Tasipale to continue the break, but they couldn’t score directly from the break; however it didn’t take them long as a strike move from the ruck allowed Alex Foster to reap the rewards of Wallis’s break, and following Widdop’s successful conversion, the visitors led by 14 points.
Wakefield would respond well to the Foster try. They would work it down close to the line, but a late hit from Tasipale gave them another set in Cas territory, and they would make this chance count as Josh Griffin crossed out wide for his second try of the night.
A crucial opportunity goes amiss for the home side, as a forward pass denies Tom Lineham a certain try. That would have pulled Wakefield back within six points. Could it come back to haunt them?
Castleford would rub salt into the wound left from the missed chance, as Gareth Widdop slotted a penalty goal following a late hit on Jacob Miller. The Fords now led by 12 points with only 15 minutes left in the game.
A cross-field kick from Mason Lino isn’t dealt with by the Castleford defence, and Tom Lineham comes within inches of scoring an opportunist try; but he grounds the ball on the dead ball line. It would have taken something special for him to score it, but it’s great instincts from the winger.
In the dying ember of the game, Greg Eden secures his hat-trick as he rounds off a famous victory for the Tigers.