We are down to the last eight in this year’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup, and current holders Warrington Wolves will look to emulate their 2009 triumph against the Huddersfield Giants, only this time it’s at the quarter-final stage this time.
Not only are the team facing a repeat of their victory, but in Tony Smith they have a former Huddersfield coach. Despite Smith’s ties between the two sides, Wolves remain only the second favourites to retain the trophy they won so convincingly against the Leeds Rhinos at Wembley nine months ago. That was their third title in four years, but this campaign they can be found at 2/1 to make it four out of five.
Wigan are the most successful side in competition history, with a total of 18 wins, and they’ll be bidding to make it a double for the North West town, following on from Wigan Athletic’s recent win in football’s equivalent – the FA Cup.
The draw has been favourable for the current Super League leaders, with a home tie against 11th placed Widnes Vikings ensuing. With their pedigree in the competition, and a favourable draw, the Warriors are priced at a favourable 6/4 to wrestle the trophy away from their near rivals.
The only non-Super League side left in the competition are the Sheffield Eagles. They, like Wigan andWarrington, have pedigree in the competition; dishing out one of the biggest shock defeats in final history with a stunning 17-8 victory over heavy favourites Wigan in 1998. Current Eagles coach Mark Aston was a member of the victorious Wembley side, and knows what it takes to cause an upset.
This year, the Eagles welcome a struggling London Broncos team with the game almost certainly one of the last sporting events to be held at the Don Valley Stadium. It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that the Eagles could make further progress, and at 150/1 to win at Wembley theirs could be a good selection for an each-way punt.
The final quarter-final sees Hull FC making the long trip to France where they face the impressive Catalans Dragons. The French outfit are typically strong on home soil, and at 7/1 third favourites to take the title, they like the Sheffield Eagles, offer good value in the each-way selections.