We have picked out the five main talking points from the Challenge Cup quarter-final weekend.
St Helens can win ugly
St Helens have blown us away at times this year with their attacking flow, coupled with a some exceptional solo efforts from Ben Barba and Jonny Lomax.
But we saw a slightly different side to Justin Holbrook’s team on Saturday. Saints were made to work and grind out a gutsy win by Hull FC in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup.
They played some hard rugby through the middle and probably have the likes of Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia and Jon Wilkin to thank for getting them through the next round. They didn’t play great, but they got the win, and that’s the sign of a champion side.
Hull FC players are immensely proud to play for the club
Some people will look at the heading and think ‘every player should be proud to play for their club’ and that is very true, however, some are proud but don’t always give their all.
Full credit must go to every single Hull FC player who featured against St Helens on Sunday. They didn’t do enough to come away with the win in the Challenge Cup quarter-final, but the Black and Whites gave everything and had nothing left in the tank when the full-time hooter sounded. Lee Radford has built a very good bond and team spirit within the camp.
Don’t give referees abuse
There has been a hell of a lot of talk and debate surrounding referees recently, but when players jump on the back of referees, it doesn’t help them or their team. It will only result in a penalty to the opposition if you don’t speak to them with respect.
Leigh winger Matty Dawson-Jones was sent off in the Centurions’ Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat to Leeds and now faces a lengthy ban for questioning the integrity of a match official after being handed a Grade E charge by the match review panel.
Let’s speak to the referees with respect.
Warrington are serious competitors
It’s probably safe to safe now that Warrington Wolves are serious contenders for all three trophies this season.
They beat Wigan Warriors 23-0 to progress through to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup on Saturday and they performed brilliantly. Tyrone Roberts is coming into his own now and their defence was superb.
They are third in Super League and the confidence in the camp must be huge.
Championship is catching Super League
It was clear to see that the top end Championship teams are catching up to the lower end of Super League teams on Friday night.
Leigh conceded 52 points in their defeat to Leeds, but they also scored 22 points which is impressive, considering they played over 70 minutes a man down after full-back Peter Mata’utia was sent off.
The Centurions played some exciting rugby at times and the scoreline could have been very different if they didn’t have Mata’utia and then Dawson-Jones red carded.
Positive signs for the Championship indeed.