Six Challenge Cup Final Classics!

Almost show time! The most historic and oldest final occasion is set to take stage at the world’s most iconic venue, Wembley stadium!

This season sees last season’s runners-up Warrington Wolves are set to tackle Betfred Super League leaders St Helens for the very first time at the national arena.

Sure to be another classic right?! They have been the top two for the majority of the 2019 campaign and building up to it, we look at six previous Cup final classics to have graced our screens!

6. Catalans Dragons 20-14 Warrington Wolves (2018)

First up is last season’s clash between Catalan Dragons and Warrington.

This match marked history as it saw the Dragons pick up their first ever piece of silverware since joining the Super League in 2006 and it was fully deserved, with full-back Tony Gigot collecting the Lance Todd Trophy for his efforts!

The Dragons scored tries through Lewis Tierney, Benjamin Garcia and Brayden Wiliame, with Josh Drinkwater slotting home four goals.

This was in response to efforts from Ben Murdoch-Masila and George King along with three goals from Tyrone Roberts.

It is widely renowned as one of the biggest upsets of all time, with the Wolves, despite securing a Grand Final spot in October, were unable to end their six-year ‘finals hoodoo’.

The Dragons though arguably helped put the sport on the map overseas with such a result and will hopefully provide a more positive future of expanding the sport in years to come.

 5. Featherstone Rovers 14-12 Hull FC (1983)

Plenty room for more upsets and this one will be remembered by many as the ‘flat cappers’ Featherstone Rovers stunned the then current holders Hull FC in 1983.

David Hobbs secured the man of the match, scoring two tries, with Steve Quinn adding four goals in response to Hull’s tries from James Leuluai and Steve Crooks.

To add insult to injury, ‘Fev’ came from behind against the strong favourites from East Yorkshire to eventually secure arguably their greatest win in their history!

They have met since and though tempers flared in a rather feisty affair, the ‘cappers’ have remained patient in their attempts at bagging a Super League spot.

Rovers should definitely take inspiration from the 1983 final as they bid for promotion to the top flight this season, another achievement that would be against all the odds.

4. Hull FC 12-10 Warrington Wolves (2016)

Speaking of inspiration, Hull, with all of their previous defeats at Wembley, had finally, emphasis on the word, ended their winless run at the stadium with a fabulous win over Warrington.

Warrington led 10-0 with 61 minutes played following tries from Matty Russell and Ben Currie and looked set for their fourth consecutive Challenge Cup final win but the Airlie Birds had other ideas.

Star signing Mahe Fonua, set to return next season, pick-pocketed Chris Sandow to score before Jamie Shaul raced behind the posts, with Danny Houghton’s late try-saving tackle on Currie sealing the win!

It was Hull’s first ever win at Wembley, ending the infamous song of “you’ll never win at Wembley”, leaving supporters of the game still seeking a replacement of lyrics to this day!

As for Warrington, they gained vengeance in this season’s semi-final but since have been winless so did it come at a cost? Find out Saturday!

3. Bradford Bulls 22-20 Leeds Rhinos (2003)

Who says they ALL have to be played at Wembley?! Two old enemies in Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos met up at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff in 2003 for a titanic tussle.

It was one of five meetings between both clubs this season, but it was the Bulls who came out on top in all five, with this being the most famous of them.

Bradford scored tries through Robbie Paul, Tevita Vaikona and Jamie Peacock, with Paul Deacon slotting home five goals.

Leeds responded through Gary Connolly, Chris McKenna and David Furner as well as four goals from Kevin Sinfield.

The latter had the chance to level things up late on but elected to attack and it came at a heavy cost.

Nevertheless, the Bulls went home worthy winners, the first of a clean sweep of silverware for Brian Noble’s side who remain one of the greatest teams of all time in the sport’s history!

2. St Helens 40-32 Bradford Bulls (1996)

The highest scoring Challenge Cup final of all time and certainly one of the best has to be St Helens’ win over Bradford Bulls in 1996.

This match featured several historic events that saw still remember to this day!

Paul, or Robbie has some prefer to call him, bagged a hat-trick of tries, only the fourth player to do so, only to end up on the losing side, despite attaining the Lance Todd Trophy.

St Helens overcame a 14-point deficit, the highest ever for a winning team which also ended their arch-rivals Wigan’s dominance in the tournament, having won the previous eight.

But this was all about the Saints, with Danny Arnold and Steve Prescott both scoring two tries, adding to efforts from Simon Booth, Keiron Cunningham, Apollo Perelini and Ian Pickavance.

It was non-stop, end-to-end, with critics citing it perhaps as the greatest ever.

Furthermore, the Saints would not stop there, as they soon trebled their opponents’ misery with a Super League title later that year and a repeat triumph in the 1997 final, certainly a top moment in the clubs’ history.

1. Wigan Warriors 28-24 Hull FC (1985)

But, best for last, of course! Wigan Warriors narrow yet thrilling win over Hull FC in 1985 arguably remains the greatest ever.

The match had everything, skilful rugby and tense action and more importantly, the highest ever attendance of 99,801 was there to witness the showpiece.

Australian international Brett Kenny was man of the match, scoring a try for good measure, adding to others from Henderson Gill and Shaun Edwards plus two from John Ferguson.

Hull responded with of their own through Kevin James, Steve Evans and Gary Divorty plus two from Kiwi international James Leuluai.

Internationals on both sides so everyone expected such a classic and Hull did go very close but it was Wigan’s day, who went one better than the year before and soon established a period of dominance in the sport!

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