Barrie McDermott’ss cup predictions

Leeds Metropolitan University, sponsors of rugby league’s oldest and most prestigious knock out competition, the Carnegie Challenge Cup, are pleased to announce that Barrie McDermott will continue his role as Carnegie Ambassador for this year’s tournament.

Barrie, who appeared in four Carnegie Challenge Cup finals in his playing career, won the trophy in 1999 when Leeds Rhinos defeated London Broncos 52-16.

Prop-forward McDermott, who made 283 appearances for Leeds Rhinos, scoring 40 tries including 1 hat-trick, also represented Oldham, Wigan and Widnes in a glittering rugby league career also gaining caps for Great Britain and Ireland.

Barrie gives his thoughts on the fourth round ties, including the mouth-watering clash between Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos on Saturday which will be broadcast live on the BBC.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Swinton v Halifax
Swinton face a tough task as they host Co-operative Championship side Halifax in the first of the weekend’s Carnegie Challenge Cup fixtures.  How do you seeing this one going Barrie?

Well Halifax are steadily improving at the moment and are sitting third in the Championship and should have little difficulty in overcoming a misfiring Swinton side who are third from bottom in Championship 1.  Halifax coach Matt Calland knows he has to get the side to hit some form and look out for the influential Australian Ben Black to pull the strings.

Barrie’s Prediction: Halifax to cruise through to the fifth round.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Harlequins v Wakefield

Harlequins have struggled in the Super League so far this season, winning only one of their 10 games.  Do you think that they can turn it round against Wakefield in the Carnegie Challenge Cup?

Harlequins have had a torrid start to the season and seemingly can’t buy a win.  However, they were much improved against St Helens in their last outing and ran Saints closing before slipping to defeat.

Mentally, they must have the belief that they can defeat Wakefield and with home advantage they will look to the Carnegie Challenge Cup to kick-start their season.  A victory in the competition can give the side momentum and Brian McDermott will be encouraging his players to give everything to put together 80 minutes of hard graft and keep their cup dreams alive.

Wakefield on the other hand have had a rollercoaster start to the campaign suffering defeat at Crusaders over the weekend.  They lost out to Wigan in the fifth round last year and will want to regain the form they showed at the start of the season winning against the Rhinos.

Barrie’s Prediction: A tight game Wakefield to edge it

Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos triumphed over Hull 46-30 in the Super League over the weekend in a thrilling encounter at Headingley Carnegie.  Can they repeat the feat in the Carnegie Challenge Cup this weekend?

For me this is undoubtedly the tie of the round.  The game at the weekend shows that both sides have enough attacking weapons in their armouries to cause damage but the Rhinos will have the slight mental edge going into Saturday’s game.

After the disappointment of losing out at this stage last year, the Rhinos will be highly motivated to get through to the next round as they look to add the Challenge Cup to their burgeoning trophy cabinet.  It’s now eleven years since they last lifted the trophy and for a group of players that has been labelled the best side ever to represent the club; it would be a dreadful shame to miss out on lifting the cup at Wembley.

The key player for Leeds is their captain and talisman Kevin Sinfield.  When he’s on song, the whole side look electric and eight of the Rhinos tries scored at the weekend were created by the veteran.

The Hull players won’t be too disheartened by the result on Sunday.  They can take a lot of heart from their performance and Tom Briscoe was electric down the left wing and will test the Rhinos again this weekend.  The squad will be bolstered by the return of three key players – Richard Horne, Danny Tickle and Craig Fitzgibbon but will miss multiple Challenge Cup winner, Sean Long.

I think this one will be close and the key to victory will be the defences, with both sides looking to tighten up.  Decision making is also vital, with the kicking games of both sides crucial to the territory battle and ultimately the outcome of the cup tie.

Barrie’s Prediction: Leeds to March on

Limoux v Leigh
Barrie’s Prediction: Leigh Centurions are undefeated so far in this season’s Cooperative Championship and I can’t see the French challenge of Limoux halting their charge.  They’ve racked up some fantastic results in recent weeks and despite the trip across the channel, their superior quality will be enough to see them into the fifth round.

Sheffield v Wigan
What a match up between the two sides that contested the famous 1998 Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley.  Sheffield were able to pull off one of the biggest cup upsets of all time with their win that day over Wigan and will be drawing on all their cup memories to help them pull off a historic repeat of that victory.

Wigan are the form team in Super League at present whilst Sheffield are struggling in the Championship so it’ll be a tall order for the underdogs to win on Saturday.  But that’s the magic of the cup; anything can happen over 80 minutes and last year Sheffield took Hull KR close and almost pulled off another upset.

Sheffield will rightly enter the match as massive underdogs, but that puts pressure on Wigan who will have to perform at their best to win through to the next round.

Barrie’s Prediction: I think Wigan will get to the Final

St Helens v Toulouse
St Helens missed out on Wembley last year at the semi final stage and won’t want to slip up to lower league opposition at this stage of the competition.  They have the experience of performing in this competition year after year and have real quality throughout their side.  I’ve been really impressed by the emergence of Kyle Eastmond, he’s starting to make that number 7 shirt his own and he’ll be integral to the team’s success in this competition.

Barrie’s Prediction: Saints by 30

Widnes v FC Lezignan-Corbieres
Barrie’s Prediction:  Widnes have started the season relatively well with four wins out of six in the Championship and should breeze through this cup tie against the French side Lezignan-Corbieres.  They’ll be looking to put together a good cup run to boost their Super League credentials and will want to reach the fifth round without any mishaps.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Blackpool v Whitehaven

Barrie’s Prediction:  This game should be a cracking encounter.  Blackpool are eight games unbeaten in all competitions and lie second in Championship 1. Martin Crompton has done a fantastic job whilst Whitehaven are mid table in the Championship. I expect a close game with Haven to take the tie.

Castleford v Barrow
Castleford are really struggling at the moment having lost again at the weekend to the Giants.  This cup match is going to be a really tough one for the home side as they face Championship champions Barrow at The Jungle.

Jermaine McGillvary has made a real impact at the Cumbrian club since his loan move from Huddersfield and provided he’s able to play, he might be the player to light up this tie. Watch out for veteran Brett McDermott to lead his home town to victory

Barrie’s Prediction: Barrow for a shock win

Catalans Dragons v Salford

Barrie’s Prediction: Catalans have been really struggling in the Super League this season with only two wins to their name but have a chance to put together a cup run as they host fellow strugglers Salford.  This is sure to be a battle of attrition with both sides looking to wear the other down into submission.  I don’t think Catalans will want to reignite those Wembley memories from 2007 home advantage will not be enough to see them through, Salford to progress.

Dewsbury v Bradford

These games are what the Carnegie Challenge Cup is all about.  Dewsbury who haven’t won a Championship game all season host a resurgent Bradford side fresh from their win at Catalans.  The form book would say that Dewsbury have a slight a chance of winning this one if they rough things up, but the Challenge Cup can throw up some upsets when you least expect it.

Barrie’s Prediction: Bradford to take the local tie

Huddersfield v Hull KR
Last year’s beaten finalists Huddersfield come into this game having enjoyed a strong start to the season and will be once again looking to put together a good cup run.  David Hodgson is in fine form for the Giants with a hat trick of tries at the weekend and will be looking to the experience of Brett Hodgson, Eorl Crabtree, David Fa’alogo and Lee Gilmour to see off the challenge of Hull KR.

Hull KR however can take a lot of confidence into this tie coming off the back of an excellent 36-16 win over last season’s Carnegie Challenge Cup winners Warrington.  Their main threat will come through winger Peter Fox who scored twice at the weekend and I like his combination of power and pace.

This game is going to be a difficult one to call

Barrie’s Prediction: Close but Giants to push on 

Hunslet v Oldham
This all Championship one cup tie pits top of the table Hunslet up against my hometown club.  Rugby league has a rich history in Oldham and they’ll be looking for a strong performance against a Hunslet side that have only lost once all season.

Barrie’s Prediction: Oldham

Siddal v Batley
Barrie’s Prediction: Siddal will be flying high after their cup upset against Doncaster in the third round of the competition; they have done incredibly well so far.  They will have hoped to draw one of the big guns in the cup draw, but face a tough task against Batley for a place in the fifth round. With a bit of luck they might get one in the next round.

Warrington v Featherstone
Barrie’s Prediction: Warrington were superb in the Carnegie Challenge Cup last season and deserved to lift the trophy last August at Wembley.  Featherstone are top of Championship 1 it should be a home win in this one but Fev are a young team and under Darrel Powell they will be highly motivated.  Warrington have suffered a string of injuries in the last couple of weeks but the Super League club have the quality and strength in depth to see off the challenge of Featherstone. This is an interesting one for the flat cappers – watch this space.

York v Crusaders
Barrie’s Prediction:  Crusaders are obvious favourites for this one, but they need to avoid complacency to progress in the competition.  Gareth Thomas bagged a very pretty first try for the club at the weekend and it will be interesting to see what impact he has on the game this weekend against lower league opposition he has a lethal try scorer’s instinct. York will want to give a good account of themselves, but provided Crusaders stay focused, they’ll be the side in the draw for the next round on Sunday.

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