Upfront: The League Express Editorial – Mon 5th Oct 2020
Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils have never met each other at Wembley in a Challenge Cup Final.
So when the two sides walk out at Wembley on 17 October it will be a truly historic occasion.
The only snag is that as things stand there will be no supporters at the game.
That is immensely disappointing for Salford supporters in particular, whose team last appeared at Wembley in 1969, when they lost to Castleford, more than 51 years ago.
Leeds’ last appearance was five years ago, when they defeated Hull Kingston Rovers 50-0 and they have been regular visitors to Wembley over the years.
Nonetheless their supporters will no doubt be equally devastated to be missing out on following their team to the capital.
A petition has been created to try to persuade the government to relax the rules about no fans attending matches, so that at least some supporters from both sides would be able to be there in person on the big day.
Of course there may be very little chance of that happening, but if we don’t ask we certainly won’t succeed in securing a change in policy.
And what a fascinating game it will be.
Inevitably Salford will be the huge underdogs, as they were against Warrington on Saturday, while most people will expect Leeds to see off the challenge of the Red Devils.
But the fascinating aspect of the game will be the battle of wits between arguably the two smartest English coaches in Super League.
Both Ian Watson at Salford and Richard Agar at Leeds have done a wonderful job with their respective clubs.
Agar demonstrated his tactical mastery against Wigan on Saturday, as did Watson against Warrington, and the Cup Final will be a fascinating chess match between the two of them.
Meanwhile, how disappointing was it to read the articles in The Australian newspaper on Friday and Saturday making serious allegations about Sam Burgess, which covered domestic abuse and drug taking.
Sam and his lawyer have strongly denied those allegations, and we sincerely hope he can prove his case.
But we have to make it clear that domestic abuse and drugs have no place in Rugby League.
If the allegations are proven, then Sam, like any other player, will have to take the consequences.
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