Congratulations to St Helens on ending their wait for a Challenge Cup win, and commiserations to Castleford.
It’s never nice to lose any match, but it’s even more painful when it’s in the final of our most historic competition at Wembley.
It was a game of two halves, even-stevens in the first, when Castleford caught Saints out with some nice off-the-cuff rugby, but for Castleford fans and neutrals, less enjoyable in the second, when Saints got a grip and closed the game out with a performance which was more professional than entertaining.
Castleford had some decent field position after the break, but to be honest, looked pretty clueless in attack, and there’s no doubt the better side on the day won.
Now Saints will turn their attention to winning the League Leaders’ Shield, then a third successive Grand Final.
With their quality and experience, they will be the favourites to triumph at Old Trafford, and it’s hard to see a situation in which they don’t get there.
Can they be denied? Well, the Grand Final is a one-off match, so of course they can, and as we stand, Catalans have a chance.
You might not have had more than a few doubts at half-time of their match against Leeds on Friday, but the way they dominated the second half and piled on the points, underlined that they have the potential to win the title this time.
If they can top the table or finish second, as they are currently well on course to do, Steve McNamara’s men get home advantage in the one match they need to win to make the Grand Final.
Next up for the Dragons is a home clash with Castleford on Saturday, and I think they will be too strong for the beaten Challenge Cup finalists and win by 26.
We have five matches before then, and on Thursday, I reckon Huddersfield could end their sequence of defeats at home to Hull (the Giants by seven), but Leigh will suffer another loss, with Warrington winning by 28.
On Friday, I think Leeds will bounce back from their defeat in France and see off Salford by 20 while Wigan will edge out Wakefield by seven.
Over at St Helens, I reckon Hull KR could come out on top by ten.
Meanwhile, well done to Featherstone on their 1895 Cup final win over York.
After all the Covid-related problems for both sides during the build-up, the two sides produced an action-packed contest.
Featherstone have a great history of memorable trips to Wembley, and it was great to see their supporters get the chance to enjoy another.
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