Coral’s five fantastic rugby league Challenge Cup finals
It’s that time of the year again on the rugby league calendar; Challenge Cup final time!
To mark the occasion, Coral review five of the best ever in the modern game as we look forward to this season’s Wembley clash between Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR, with the West Yorkshire outfit odds-on at 2/11 with Coral to retain the trophy.
Related: Leeds v Hull KR match preview
With video footage provided, have a look through and see which is your favourite!
1992: Wigan 28-12 Castleford
The fourth instalment of the Cheshire outfit’s remarkable run of eight Challenge Cup final wins, this stands out as one of the best, featuring the magnificent Martin Offiah, who lit up Wembley with his explosive pace and unpredictability.
His on-field relationship with irrepressible half back Shaun Edwards evident for all to see, the duo dominated Castleford, who themselves boasted a strong side, with the magician Graeme Steadman, Tawera Nikau and Lee Crooks.
1996: St Helens 40-32 Bradford
This star-studded Saints side, featuring Paul Newlove and Bobby Goulding whose constant kicking barrage of the Saints’ in-goal area punished Bradford time and again. A young Keiron Cunningham was on the scoresheet, as well as the sensational Samoan Apollo Perelini.
A game in which the pendulum swung one way then the other, this pulsating match had everyone on the edge of their seats.
2002: Wigan 21-12 St Helens
A match where the winners simply flew out of the blocks, they were too much for the Saints. Quite simply faster, stronger, fitter and more in-sync, this was evident from the expansive rugby they played from the off. Kris Radlinski was devastating in defence for Wigan making a number of last-ditch tackles.
2003: Bradford 22-20 Leeds
Quite possibly, one of the best Bulls side’s in recent times, containing Robbie Paul, wingers Tevita Vaikona and man-mountain Lesley Vainikolo who, weighing 17 stone could run the 100m in sub-11 seconds, fans could expect fireworks each time the side took to the field.
This blood and thunder derby had everything, with the prolific Paul Deacon pulling the strings in midfield, he Rhinos were helpless to his wizardry as the Millennium Stadium hosted a thrilling final.
1998: Sheffield Eagles 17-8 Wigan
A shock result, saw the South Yorkshire side blow the decade’s dominant force out of the water, inspired by an outstanding Keith Senior as the Eagles kept a Wigan side in check that included Jason Robinson, Denis Betts and captain fantastic himself, Andy Farrell.