The good, the bad & the ugly: Underdogs Warrington, St Helens bottle it & Widnes heartache

Drew Darbyshire

The Challenge Cup final weekend proved to be a fantastic spectacle as always.

The good

Warrington have gone from being favourites and losing in 2018 to underdogs and winning in 2019.

The Wolves produced a magnificent display to defeat big favourites St Helens 18-4 in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

Coach Steve Price shared an emotional moment with captain Chris Hill as the full-time hooter sounded which captured just how much winning the Cup meant to the club.

And we can’t forget to mention the incredible performance of Warrington hooker Daryl Clark, who won the Lance Todd Trophy. It was Warrington’s weekend.

The bad

St Helens have lost another big final and their reputation of being “bottlers” is becoming a common theme now for them, unfortunately.

They currently sit 16 points above second-placed Warrington in the Super League table but were left stunned at Wembley.

Saints coach Justin Holbrook will not return Down Under with his dream farewell of winning the treble – but he faces the task of getting his players focused on the play-offs now.

A lot of the debate before the final was about Blake Austin and whether he would play through the pain barrier for the Wolves but the real debate should have been about Lachlan Coote. The St Helens full-back hadn’t played in two months and looked rusty on Saturday.

The ugly

Moving onto the second game at Wembley – the 1895 Cup final – it was sad to see Widnes hooker Jordan Johnstone leave the field just minutes into the game with a suspected fractured eye socket.

Full details of his injury are yet to be revealed – but the Cumbrian has played his last game for the club ahead of his move to Hull FC for 2020.

Johnstone, 22, has been at the Vikings since 2016 and has made over 60 appearances for the club. It’s not the way he would have liked to have departed Widnes.

But we must give a big congratulations to underdogs Sheffield, who became the first ever winners of the 1895 Cup with a 36-18 win over Widnes in the second game at Wembley.

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