Against All Odds: Warrington boss claims Saints are the biggest favourites in Challenge Cup history

Steve Price faces old friend Justin Holbrook on Saturday and believes his side are huge underdogs for the Challenge Cup final, but anything can happen at Wembley.

Matthew Crist

St Helens and Warrington have been the top two for the majority of the season in Super League but anything can happen this weekend as the pair go head-to-head at Wembley in the final of the Challenge Cup.

The Wolves lost their fifth Super League game in a row on Friday night after going down to a 20-6 defeat at Wigan and and now trail their opponents by 16 points in the table but will be aware that league form often counts for nothing at Wembley.

“They are the biggest favourites in Challenge Cup history and we will be the biggest underdogs so time will tell,” said Wolves coach Steve Price ahead of his side’s clash with the Saints.

“Form goes out of the window next week. I’ve got a squad of international players and a group of men who have made over 200 or 300 first-team appearances and know what it takes to win but it is going to have to take a really special performance against the best team in the competition in St Helens,” he said.

WARRINGTON WOLVES TO WIN THE 2019 CHALLENGE CUP FINAL – 3.30*

Saturday’s Cup final sees two of rugby league’s biggest rivals come face to face for the very first time in the history of the showcase event and for the two coaches – St Helens’ Justin Holbrook and Warrington’s Steve Price – the contest brings a mixture of rivalry and friendship.

The two Aussies have known each other since they were seven-year-old teammates in schoolboy rugby league and first faced in an under-sevens competition, but despite being the best of friends there will be no niceties on this occasion.

The Saints are looking to claim their first Challenge Cup win since 2008 at the weekend, which was also the club’s last visit to Wembley for the final and can be backed at 1.33 to lift the trophy this time around.

And if they do repeat that success this year it could well be the first leg of a League Leaders’ Shield and Cup double such has been the dominance of Justin Holbrook’s men who have won 23 and lost just 3 games in Super League to date.

Warrington, on the other hand, find themselves in a three-way battle for second place along with Wigan and Hull FC and arrive at Wembley looking to make-up for their shock 20-14 defeat to Catalans Dragons last year having not won the trophy since 2012.

SAINT HELENS NOT TO TRAIL IN THE 2019 CHALLENGE CUP FINAL – 3.25*

But despite Saints beating Wolves in all three of their Super League meetings in 2019, Head Coach Holbrook is not expecting that to have any bearing on this Saturday’s encounter: “We’ve played well against them a few times this year, but we know that won’t affect them,” he told Sky Sports.

Holbrook will leave the Saints at the end of this season to take up a contract with NRL side, the Gold Coast Titans and has enjoyed an impressive tenure in Super League since arriving midway through 2017.

He steered St Helens to the League Leaders’ Shield in 2018 followed by the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup and Super League and with a commanding lead at the top of Super League a treble could well be on the cards if Saints secure victory on Saturday.

The Wolves are hoping to have Blake Austin, Josh Charnley, Jack Hughes and Stefan Ratchford fit for the trip to the capital while The Saints will welcome back key duo Lachlan Coote and Alex Walmsley for Saturday’s eagerly awaited clash which kicks-off at 3pm.

Wembley

2019 CHALLENGE CUP FINAL: CHECK OUT ALL OUR FAN BOOSTS HERE

 

*Odds subject to change

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