Yesterday, 13 was the magic number for St Helens. They ended a 13-year wait for Wembley glory to claim their 13th Challenge Cup. It was a brilliant cup final all told and Castleford certainly played their part in a brilliant contest. Well, that was my view anyway, but what was yours? How did social media see it?
Of course, most of the talk is about St Helens and rightly so but the best player on the field was Niall Evalds. The Castleford fullback was in a league of his own yesterday and didn’t deserve to lose. He certainly gained a lot of praise on Twitter.
Niall evalds 100% could be world class…he’s one of them players where he plays to the level thag surrounds him, plays Sunday league he’s the best player on the pitch, plays SOO he’s going to be the best player on pitch!
— stefan hannah (@stef12334) July 18, 2021
Congrats to Niall evalds Lance Todd miss u I that red shirt but the little french geezer had a top game last night
— Mark (@markscott19631) July 17, 2021
Not a classic! Pleased for Niall Evalds, what a game he had! Richly deserved the recognition of The Lance Todd Trophy. https://t.co/vqOMtfsOUB
— John B Sheffield (@jaybs) July 17, 2021
After a mesmeric first half from Evalds, the Tigers led 12-6 and looked like they could be on course to cause the upset. However, a couple of huge decisions then went against the West Yorkshire outfit including a controversial James Roby try. Subsequently, the game slowly got away from them. It even led some to question the way the video referee works.
Oh yes. I can’t see the ball go down but I can’t over ride the on field decision 🤦🏼♂️ that James Roby try changed the game
— Gareth (@Gareth__Dobson) July 17, 2021
Not a classic, do feel the video referee has to be closer to how the bunker works! Niall Evalds deserved The Lance Todd.
— John B Sheffield (@jaybs) July 17, 2021
Rules don't seem to have much meaning, or, they're… Open to interpretation. Hence the Roby "try" as well.
— Cameron Shepherd (@camcastiger) July 18, 2021
However, there were plenty of supporters who felt the controversial Roby try was rightly awarded.
Nothing wrong with Roby's try. It was messy. It was lucky but by the rules it was fair. Trueman's OTOH was definitely incorrect. No debate.
— Graham Johnson (@Badwanger) July 18, 2021
The Roby try was 100% legitimate
— Sam Robinson (@samrobinson0310) July 18, 2021
For anyone who still thinks the Roby try shouldn’t have been given…..👍🏻 https://t.co/8adfdO9fRc
— Wayne Haselden (@WayneHaselden) July 18, 2021
Others felt Cas were simply looking for excuses.
Really? You’re moaning about a kick off? The penalty count was weighted heavily in favour of Cas, while the try from Roby was odd, the ref and video ref gave it. I’d direct my frustration at Powell. Not playing a first team before the final told in fitness for the 2nd half. 20-0
— Keith Hale © (@khthejudge) July 18, 2021
Take nothing away from the controversial try scorer, however. If anyone deserved to lift the Challenge Cup, it was James Roby. Saints fans quite rightly showered him in praise.
“The year is 2028, Sir Kristian Woolf has just led Saints to their 8th consecutive challenge cup. 43 year old James Roby has once again secured the Lance Todd trophy.”
— Rugby League Fan (@RLFan_XIII) July 18, 2021
Said it before and I’ll say it again James Roby is the greatest rugby league player to ever walk the earth absolute fact
— ash (@ash18282378) July 18, 2021
Sir James Roby lifting the challenge cup at Wembley, stay in my head for life that, what a guy ✌🏻
— Connor Smith (@Con_Smith1995) July 17, 2021
Also deserving of credit is Kristian Woolf. The Saints coach has received plenty of stick for his ‘negative rugby’ this season but on the grandest stage it paid off and led the Saints to victory.
Kristian Woolf winning his 2nd major trophy as Saints coach within a year by playing Cunningham style rugby 5 drives down the middle and a kick https://t.co/VMnPkltWEO
— Liam Rogers (@LiamRogers_96) July 17, 2021
But on the day, Saints and Kristian Woolf rallied from a subpar first half by their standards to absolutely squeeze what they could out of their opponents on an energy-sapping day under scorching Wembley sun. Lachlan Coote, superb at the back – he'll be missed next year too.
— Andrew Steel (@andrewsteel52) July 17, 2021