In years gone by we saw St Helens vs Leeds form the backbone of the men’s game as they became the pioneers of the summer era in Super League’s first decade and a half. Now their women’s sides are doing something similar.
In 2018, Leeds Rhinos made their debut in the women’s game and instantly dominated winning four trophies from a possible six in their first two seasons but St Helens began shifting the power their way in 2021. Now in the first major final of 2022, the two teams meet.
But who will come away with the trophy? Will Leeds right the wrongs of 2021 or will St Helens’ expanding empire claim another accolade.
The game kicks off at 12:00 at Leeds United’s Elland Road where the journey towards the final began months ago with the group stage draw.
It is the first of a Challenge Cup triple-header ahead of the two men’s semi-finals.
The women’s game continues to grow and another of the showpiece events of the sport will get fantastic TV coverage today.
The final will be shown live on BBC Two from 11:30.
After winning the treble in 2021, St Helens will certainly be the favourites as they look to emulate their opponents and retain the Challenge Cup.
The Saints have already defeated the Rhinos in a major final within the city of Leeds downing the then reigning Super League Champions at Headingley in last year’s Super League Grand Final. So, the prospect of essentially being the away side in terms of locality will not phase them and they will be cheered on by many travelling fans with the men’s side hoping to follow the their example and play in a second consecutive cup final.
The big question hanging over them is whether or not they can repeat their success from last season having beaten York in last year’s decider. If they can, they will have completed the latest leg in a potential double-treble.
Speaking of York, Leeds just edged York in the semi-finals to return to the Challenge Cup Final. The Rhinos have never lost a Challenge Cup Final winning the trophy in back to back finals in 2018 and 2019 at the expense of Castleford.
With a silverware laden short history complete with a League Leaders’ Shield in 2018 and a Super League title in 2019, they will be hoping to get back to winning silverware and closing the gap between Saints and the rest with a final win.
They will also be frustrated that the Saints were the first team to complete the treble after coming so close in 2018 and 2019. That adds an extra spice to this fixture as will the battle between the reigning and former Women of Steel as St Helens’ Jodie Cunningham and Leeds’ Courtney Winfield-Hill look to inspire their teams to victory.