Leigh Leopards heroes recall ‘euphoria’ of Challenge Cup Final victory

JOHN DAVIDSON and DAVE PARKINSON caught up with players from Leigh Leopards after the Challenge Cup Final.


“I’ve been on the wrong end of this result with Cas in 2021, so it was just euphoria. I was the first one into Lachy (Lachlan Lam). There was a big pile on and I must have said ‘I love you!’ about a million times and ‘We did it!”. I’m just so happy. I can’t put it into words.

“I struck it (my field-goal attempt) well. I’d been practising them all week. It just drifted wide so I was kicking myself a little bit giving them seven tackles but thankfully our boys defended really well.

“And then Brad Schneider had an attempt and it went dead, so we got seven tackles. I had a second attempt but the pass was a little behind me so I reckon Matt Parcell at marker would have probably got to me if I’d tried.

“Obviously, we’d rehearsed with Lachy to be in that position in case it happened and he’s nailed it.

“We celebrate this for the next couple of days. We’ll focus on Catalans next week. It’s a competition we’ve put ourselves into a good position to do well in. 

“We’re not looking too far ahead. We’ll just enjoy this moment. We deserve it. We’ve worked really hard. We’ll turn our attention to the league once we’ve partied.

“Sport is full of ups and downs. I’ve been in Million Pound Games on the right end and wrong end of them. Challenge Cup finals, right and wrong end of them, too. It’s just sport. It’s a rollercoaster but the friendships you make and brothers make it all worthwhile.”


“We’re a special group. The way that we play, the way we’ve turned up this year and doing what we’re doing. It’s very special. I can’t knock being a part of this group of lads.

“I’m just enjoying it. Lammy’s getting the best out of us and the team is all connected. We’re all working hard for each other and it’s paying off.

“I don’t think what we’ve created today will ever be created again. We’re newly promoted, we’ve won the Challenge Cup and we’re sitting third. We’ve come into this competition with our eyes open and achieved one of the goals we’ve set. Who knows what we can do next.

“We’ll enjoy this moment now. Our families are here, we can relax a little bit now, let our hair down, enjoy a beer together. We didn’t celebrate the semi-final so we put it all into today. We’ll enjoy it and when Wednesday comes, we’ll get back into Super League.”


“A few of us said the build-up to the game is probably the biggest thing that takes it out of you. As soon as you kick off it’s just another game, but that 80-minute performance, we held in and cracked right at the end, but there was no doubting that the boys can stick together and come out with a win.

“We set a goal at the start of the year; we wanted to prove everyone wrong and I think we’re doing that. We’ve managed to get some respect back for being a newly promoted club and everyone not just saying, you’ll be happy to survive. No, we want to make sure that we’re pushing for that top spot, and we’re doing that.

“It was 52 years since we’ve last been there, but Derek (Beaumont) and Mike Latham at the club said it’s 52 years minus two for Covid, so it’s 50 years between each one that we’ve been to. Derek said all week, this is our moment and the boys fully believed that the whole way through.

“The surreal thing is no one gave us a chance at the start of the year. We’ve proved everyone wrong. We know we can do it; we knew we could get here, but we’ve proved everyone wrong from what everyone had perceived of us at the start of the year.”


“It was just a bit crazy really, we put ourselves under a little bit of pressure, but you’re in a final, they’re known for putting in some tricky kicks and not letting up in the tackle, and there’s a couple of dangerous individuals out there. You have to be on guard all the way through the game, but they came and got us right at the end. A little bit unlucky, but we managed to get the job done.

“We had an emotional and personal meeting last night at the hotel. Each player got up and presented the next player’s shirt and said a little bit about himself and then about the next person that was coming up to collect their shirt. You probably don’t expect it to go the way that it did and it got emotional for some lads, who were tearing up and struggling to speak through it all. Everybody’s got their own journeys throughout Rugby League and everybody’s different and we’ve got to this point now and it just brings us closer together – like a brotherhood and family.

“The vibe that you get from the fans (at Leigh) is very similar to what you get at Cas. You know the Leigh fans are very loud as you’ve seen today. That standing sound at our home ground is always bouncing. It’s been massive and I think the fans are phenomenal and they deserve this. It’s been a long time!

“We’re only the third team ever in Leigh’s history to do this, so once you dig deep into it and probably have a sit down and think about it, it’s pretty special.”


“I’ve seen this group of boys work hard day in, day out. Not only work hard, but we’ve enjoyed training and playing alongside each other. That’s just what builds great teams, and it’s just great people, great individuals coming together and collectively to work, to play, to achieve a certain goal.

“When we first trained together and when we lost those three or four games at the start of the year, we watched those games back and the losses that we’ve had, it’s not like a blow-up score or like a one-sided score, it was just the game was in the balance and then they scored like two or three tries and they got away with the win.

“But we looked back and we saw the effort and we saw the trust within our team and we kept building each week. And from the progress that we’ve had from the first round of the Super League coming into the Challenge Cup, we’ve been going on the up. I think that’s where all the confidence and all the belief came from.

“If I can inspire one person then I’m okay, but I’m just doing my best to be the best version of myself and to be the best citizen of my country and obviously be a good player for the Leopards.”