The dust has settled on the 2018 edition of the Challenge Cup final, but it has left with it an ever-lasting memory within the folklore of rugby league as the Catalan Dragons became the first team outside of Britain to claim one of the sports’ most historic accolades. In the process, the Dragons and French fullback Tony Gigot put in one of his most inspired displays as a rugby league professional, claiming the Lance Todd trophy because of this. Now, in honour of the Dragons Challenge Cup victory and Gigot’s display we look at some of the great Lance Todd trophy performances by players from outside the UK….
The big and powerful New Zealander put it an unbelievably strong showing in the 2011 final as the bull-dozing Wigan prop was an unlikely hero and the first New Zealander to win the award since Henry Paul in 2000. Although he would only score six tries in his Wigan career, two of them would come in the Challenge Cup’s showpiece event against the Rhinos.
The 1993 Lance Todd trophy winner became a house hold name at the formidable Cherry and Whites thanks mainly due to his huge character and hard but electric like running ability at the centre and loose forward position. The former New Zealand international put forth an attacking display of impressive magnitude that local rivals Widnes could not seem to contain and in a 20-14 victory, Bell would get his name on the try sheet along with the honour of captaining the side to a sixth consecutive Challenge Cup victory.
After winning the Challenge Cup in 2009 for the first time since 1974, Warrington returned to the final the following year looking to claim back to back wins. A 30-6 victory against Leeds Rhinos saw Wolves’ Aussie winger produce an exceptional try-scoring display, with a hat trick at the new Wembley stadium. In only three seasons at the Wire, Hicks was more than prolific scoring 71 tries in 82 appearances.
Seamus McCallion’s group of mavericks came out of the shadows of the Second Division and for five exceptional years, Halifax saw a Championship winning team. The former Australia test player, Eadie was one of several Australian imports that included, Chris Anderson as player-coach, Keith Neller, Geoff Robinson plus Queensland stars Cavil Heugh and Joe Kilroy. A rag tag bunch that played hard, drank hard and worked hard. Eadie, known as the ‘Wombat’, came out of retirement to win the Lance Todd trophy in 1987, scoring a try in a game that went right down to the wire and saw Fax come out 19-18 winners against St. Helens.
The 1985 Challenge Cup final will probably go in rugby league history as one of great cup finals. A plethora of tries and a great attacking display from both teams all added up to an enthralling encounter. However, for the first time in 20 years it would be Graeme West’s Cherry and Whites that would claim the trophy in a 28-24 win against Hull FC and was a game that saw former Australian stand-off, Kenny, pull all the strings in a tasty affair.
The South African born, Killeen, found fame in Britain as part of the St. Helens squad of the 1960s and alongside fellow South African compatriot Tom Van Vollenhoven, proved to be a born match winner wit his exceptional ball handling and wicked pace. In 1966, the goal kicking winger won four trophies with the Saints (RFL Championship, Challenge Cup, RFL Lancashire league and RFL Lancashire Cup) and put in an inspired performance in the Challenge Cup final. A try and five conversions from Killeen helped the Red Vee secure a dominant 21-2 win against rivals Wigan and their third Challenge Cup in the process.