This story originally featured in League Express’ Challenge Cup final preview special. To read the full issue, click here – and don’t forget to subscribe to ensure you get our digital edition celebrating this year’s Wembley winners as soon as it is released on Sunday night!
It may be mind games, it may be the truth.
But Wigan forward Liam Farrell has admitted Hull are favourites for Saturday’s Challenge Cup final – and says the pressure is on the reigning holders to retain their crown on Saturday.
Wigan return to the sport’s showpiece event for the first time since their 2013 triumph over Hull to face the Black and Whites under the Wembley arches once again this weekend.
And after their unforgettable win over Warrington last year, Farrell says Lee Radford’s side are the ones who are both favourites and under pressure.
“Going off their performances this year and our performances this year, you’d probably back them as favourites,” Farrell said.
“Our team has changed over the last month or so, we’ve been getting bodies back and it’s been showing in the performances, but Hull have been really good consistently through the year.
“So you’d probably say that we’re the underdogs, but we’re comfortable with that.
“Going into the game as Challenge Cup holders, Hull probably feel a bit of pressure to retain it. Either way, it’s going to be a tough game and whoever wins it will be worthy winners.”
Farrell, however, admits that just because Hull may be favourites does not mean there is no pressure on Wigan – with the town expecting a record-extending 21st Challenge Cup triumph.
“It’s been four years now, so it’ll be a good feeling going back to Wembley,” he said.
“It’s really important to the club and the town. The fans always tell you that it’s a must-win game.
“There’s a lot of pressure on you from the fans and the club but you wouldn’t want it any other way. We want to win trophies and this would be our second of the year.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Farrell played in the Wigan side that beat Hull 16-0 in the final four years ago: the Warriors’ last visit to Wembley and the sport’s biggest showpiece event.
But given the evolution of Lee Radford’s side since 2013, Farrell insists Wigan will face a much sterner test this weekend against the reigning holders.
“Hopefully it’s a good omen,” he laughed when asked about 2013.
“I remember the game pretty well; it was probably pretty boring, but I don’t care because we got the win and we got the trophy and that’s all we wanted.
“I’ll play any conditions, with as many dropped balls as you want – as long as we get the win!
“But it’s a different Hull team now. They’ve performed really well since then and become a very strong team and we’re expecting them to be strong again.
“We saw what they did to Leeds in the semi so it’s going to be a really tough one for us.
“We’ve not got that many in our team now who have been there and won, so there’s a little bit of pressure on us to perform. But on the day, if we turn up, we’ll definitely give ourselves a chance.”