Leigh Leopards unsung hero in Challenge Cup final: The eye-catching stats behind forward’s mammoth efforts

Josh McAllister
Robbie Mulhern, Challenge Cup

Robbie Mulhern lifts the Challenge Cup trophy at Wembley Stadium. Photo by PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo.

Leigh Leopards claimed all the headlines following their historic Challenge Cup victory over Hull KR, their first triumph since 1971.

Lachlan Lam received all the plaudits, and rightfully so, after kicking the first-ever golden point winner after Matt Parcell’s 79th minute try sent the game into extra time.

But in-form prop forward Robbie Mulhern was an unsung hero in Leigh’s 17-16 victory, having played a huge part in the success.

It was his barging run that helped assist Leigh’s first try, a response to Jez Litten’s opening four-pointer somewhat against the run of play.

His run and quick play the ball allowing captain John Asiata to take on the line, finding influential half-back Lam out the back to feed Kai O’Donnell through a gap before the half-back backed up to score the try.

But it was Mulhern again who stood up in extra time, having already played big minutes, with a powerful 20 metre charge to lay the platform for Lam to kick the winner.

His play the ball just beyond the 10 metre line allowed Edwin Ipape to find Gareth O’Brien, with the full-back remaining calm to assist Lam in front of the Leigh supporters.

Mulhern played a massive 69 minutes with 32 tackles and 153 metres made, the third most for a forward on the day across both sides behind leader Tom Amone (191) and captain John Asiata (169).

Robbie Mulhern one of Leigh’s ‘stand-out players’ says team-mate

Head coach Adrian Lam was full of praise for the Ireland international, stating that he couldn’t have signed him quick enough following his exit from Warrington, having failed to reach new terms at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Lance Todd Trophy winner Lachlan Lam also praised his team-mate as one of the side’s stand-out performers in 2023, with a special nickname for the 28-year-old.

“When he became available from Warrington, we couldn’t have grabbed him quick enough to be honest with you,” said coach Adrian Lam.

“As a person, he’s as good as it gets. That’s a part of recruitment for us, about getting a talented player and that person needs to be a good person as well and he is both.

“Tom Amone, Robbie Mulhern and John Asiata have been as good as any other front-row in the competition, without a doubt.”

Leigh star and man of the moment Lachlan Lam added: “He’s worked very hard has Robbie Mulhern.

“He come off a few average games to start the year but he’s one of our stand-out performers this year.

“His dedication to getting better, I run a joke and call him a moose because he’s an absolute beast when he runs. We have a big inside joke on that.”

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