Challenge Cup: Ian Watson predicts winners with ‘two of the best players in the competition’ hailed

Josh McAllister
Challenge Cup, Ian Watson

Ian Watson has predicted his Challenge Cup winners.

Huddersfield Giants boss Ian Watson has predicted a Leigh Leopards Challenge Cup final victory thanks to a side full of ‘proven winners’. 

Adrian Lam’s squad take on Hull KR at Wembley Stadium on Saturday with a 3:00pm kick off, live on BBC One.

Watson led the Giants to the Challenge Cup final last season, falling to a late defeat to Wigan Warriors at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a 77th minute winner from winger Liam Marshall for a 16-14 score.

Leigh defeated Super League four-peat champions St Helens 12-10 in the semi-finals in Warrington, also beating York and Wakefield in their 2023 cup journey.

The Robins claimed their place in the final over Wigan thanks to a golden point drop goal winner from new hero Brad Schneider, who only joined the club at the start of July from Canberra Raiders.

Watson, who also coached Salford to the 2020 Challenge Cup final, as well as the 2019 Super League Grand Final, believes Leigh’s squad will do the business on the day thanks to their experiences, as well as praising duo Lachlan Lam and John Asiata as the best in the competition.

Ian Watson predicts Challenge Cup winners

“I’m going to go with Leigh,” Watson said.

“At the start of the year everyone was talking about Leigh and where they’d finish and I thought they’d finish in the play-offs or competing in and around there.

“It’s the level of player they’ve got and the quality of players.

“They’ve probably got two of the best players in the competition in Lachlan Lam and John Asiata, they are two great players.

“On the back of that with the likes of Zak Hardaker and you’ve got Josh Charnley, they’re proven winners. They’ve been in and around championship winning teams, Challenge Cup final winning teams. They’re that level of player.

“Zak Hardaker made a huge difference to Leeds last year and they got to a Grand Final on the back of it.

“I just think Leigh have got more of them guys in their ranks potentially than what Hull KR have got.

“I think it’ll be a great game and I think it will be close, I just think Leigh have the edge because of people like Lachlan Lam and Josh Asiata.”

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