Kevin Brown is predicting a Challenge Cup classic and believes the battle between the two best players in Super League will decide the game.
The former Wigan and Huddersfield half-back says the match up between Tui Lolohea and Jai Field will dictate the outcome of this year’s showpiece event at Tottenham.
Speaking on this week’s Love Rugby League Podcast, the former England international predicts a game that is too close to call.
“I don’t buy into Wigan being massive favourites, I see them as favourites just,” says Brown.
“If there are injuries for Huddersfield then they are massive underdogs. But if both teams play to their best then I don’t know who wins.
“Huddersfield are building and have gone under the radar. Jai Field has got an awful lot of attention and rightly so but if they can shut him down then it’s a really close one to call.”
Will Pryce play or won’t he?
Brown has the unique accolade of having appeared in four Challenge Cup finals with four different teams and lost the lot.
The former Wigan, Huddersfield, Warrington and Salford star recounts the magical Cup Final experience on the latest weekly podcast, while urging caution over Will Pryce. Huddersfield have the youngster available again following a hefty 10-match ban but Brown would hold him back.
He said: “Will Pryce will have done a pre-season. He’s very fit so might even come back better than he was and he was flying when he went out. I don’t know where you put him, I don’t think he starts.
“Lolohea has been the best player behind Jai Field this year. Theo (Fages) and Olly (Russell) work well together in that triangle with Danny Levi.
“If you throw Will in there it could completely unsettle it. I think he’d be such a weapon off the bench, 60 minutes in. He’s an X-factor player so he’ll do something. My worry is if Theo or Olly doesn’t make it and they throw Will in and he tries to do too much.”
A Challenge Cup classic awaits
Brown believes Wigan’s accomplishments so far this season are down in no small part to the impact of head coach Matt Peet and his assistants Lee Briers and Sean O’Loughlin who have transformed the Warriors from a “boring” outfit into a devastating attacking side.
He added: “Peet has been making loud noises for a long time.
“Culture normally take time to weed the bad eggs out but it has happened overnight with Matt. He has transformed Jai Field and the dynamic looks great with Lee Briers.
“It was almost boring last year watching Wigan play but this year they are great to watch and still have that resilience in defence.
“I do believe this will be a classic. I cannot wait for Tui Lolohea and the battle with Jai Field who is the best runner of the ball in the competition.
“Tui is playing happy and Watson has done that by taking the shackles off him. He doesn’t worry about organising, he can just float around and play like he’s playing touch and pass in the garden. Full credit to Tui for taking a lot of stick and coming out of the other side. “