It is seen as an honour to walk out at Wembley Stadium in front of a massive watching audience to showcase the best rugby league has to offer, but who will leave with the Challenge Cup Trophy in 2020?
The Coral Challenge is the second of two major trophies that are competed for in rugby league. Warrington Wolves are the current holders of the competition after they defeated St Helens 18-4 in the final last August.
The Challenge Cup Final will move from August to July this year to give teams more time to prepare for the run-in to the Super League play-offs, with the Final to be held at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, July 18.
Dave Kuzio now gives you his predictions for this year’s competition…
Banker Bet: Wigan Warriors @ 4/1 Coral
It’s quite difficult predicting the winner of a competition that is months away, but with the Challenge Cup you can fully expect one of the big teams in Super League to be reaching the Final.
Wigan Warriors are the most successful club in the history of the Challenge Cup, they have won this prestigious trophy no fewer than 19 times. Their last success was back in 2013 when they defeated Hull FC 16-0, they last reached the Final in 2017 when Hull got a measure of revenge turning over the Warriors 18-14.
Wigan have recruited well this season with Jackson Hastings, George Burgess, Jake Bibby and Mitch Clark all joining the club. Chairman Ian Lenagan has already admitted that he would love another trip to Wembley as he sees it as the pinnacle of the game.
A lot can happen between now and July, but if Hastings settles in quite quickly, then he could be the final jigsaw piece that allows Wigan to finally win that 20th Challenge Cup title.
Obvious Winner Bet: St Helens @ 3/1 Coral
Apart from a small blip in last year’s Final, St Helens were head and shoulders better than everyone else in 2019. They might not have recruited any new players for 2020, but they clearly have a good enough squad to win the whole lot this season.
Saints have not won the Challenge Cup since beating 2008 Hull FC 28-16, but the club has a different mentality about themselves lately and they are determined to go down in history as one of the most entertaining teams ever.
As with everything in sport, Saints will need a good run with injuries this season. If they can keep everyone fit and healthy, then there is no reason why they can’t win the Challenge Cup for a 13th time. The likes of Wigan, Warrington, Leeds, Hull and Castleford will have something to say about that though.
Bold Prediction: Hull FC @ 8/1 Coral
I genuinely do believe that Wigan will win the Challenge Cup in 2020, but there are number of teams that are in with a shot of taking home the main prize. Anything can happen if you get a favourable draw.
Warrington Wolves, who have won the Challenge Cup four times in the last 11 years and they will not be a million miles away. The partnership between Gareth Widdop and Blake Austin will be key for the Wolves, if they start to gel then they could retain their title.
I’m not going for the Wolves as my bold prediction. My pick for this is Hull FC. Hull have a good history with the Challenge Cup, they have won it five times with two of those successes coming in the last four years.
Hull coach Lee Radford has recruited well in the off-season with the likes of Mahe Fonua, Adam Swift, Manu Ma’u, Josh Jones, Tevita Satae and Ligi Sao all making the move over. The black and whites will have a massive pack this time out and if they get the luck of the draw they have a very good chance of reaching their 17th Challenge Cup Final.