With the 2020 UEFA European Championships in our wake, Wembley is set for another sporting showdown later this month, when Castleford Tigers and St Helens go head-to-head in the Betfred Challenge Cup final.
Four-time Betfred Challenge Cup winner Adrian Morley sat down with Betfred’s Lewis Smith to preview the highly anticipated clash in the capital, where rugby league fans will be in attendance under the arches.
“Growing up, when it was first-past-the-post for the Championship, the Challenge Cup was the biggest part of the calendar and the showcase event,” he began.
“I was fortunate enough in my career to play in a number of finals so I am very excited for the Challenge Cup final week. We’ve not had fans there at Wembley since last year and when Salford and Leeds contested it, we didn’t have any fans so the fact fans are there is great.
“Just the fact that the Challenge Cup final is being played is very exciting.”
Pointing out that the former rugby league player lifting the Challenge Cup trophy was once an ‘annual event’, Smith quizzed Morley on his memories of winning the tournament with his respective clubs.
“There was the time at Warrington and it coincided with me being captain there so we won it three out of four years in 2009, 2010 and 2012, which was absolutely incredible,” Morley recalled.
“I’ll flick back 10 years before that in 1999 with Leeds when we won the Challenge Cup final. It was the last-ever final at Wembley before they demolished it and created this fantastic new stadium. It was great to enjoy both – the old Wembley and the new Wembley – and in fact there’s only one or two players who have got that feat.
“I did play a final at Murrayfield when Wembley was being redeveloped but we didn’t win that one so I don’t tend to talk about that one too much! But some great memories of the Challenge Cup.”