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27th August 2016, 10:31 | ChallengeCup

Five of the Best: Challenge Cup Final Heroes

Five of the Best: Challenge Cup Final Heroes

With three days to go until this year's Challenge Cup final, we take a look at five legendary performances.

Sean Long – St Helens

Only one player has been selected as the Lance Todd Trophy man of the match on three occasions and that was St Helens Challenge Cup hero Sean Long.

His first accolade came in the 2001 final at Twickenham as the Saints saw off Bradford Bulls. The next accolade came three years later after he produced a commanding performance as St Helens swept aside old rivals Wigan in Cardiff.

A fantastic kicking display saw him create two tries and score one himself as he won his third Lance Todd Trophy at the 2006 side as Saints demolished Huddersfield at Twickenham.

Long finally had the chance to lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2007 as Saints saw off final debutants Catalans Dragons, and then again in 2008 as Hull FC were defeated.


Shaun Edwards – Wigan

No player has played in more Challenge Cup finals than Wigan great Shaun Edwards. His first of 11 Wembley appearances came in 1984 but he had to wait until the following year to taste success, as Wigan defeated Hull FC in one of the greatest finals in history.

He was part of Wigan’s unbeatable side that won an astonishing eight consecutive Wembley finals between 1988 and 1995, captaining the cherry and whites in two of those finals.

His heroic status was underpinned in the 1990 final, where he played the match with a broken hand. Edwards was given painkilling injections before the match and then suffered a depressed cheekbone and fractured eye socket, but it was all worthwhile as Wigan beat Warrington 36-14.

Shaun Edwards skips past a Challenge in his eighth Challenge Cup final in 1993.

Alex Murphy was a player/coach in Warrington's 1974 triumph.

Alex Murphy – St Helens, Leigh, Warrington

One of Rugby League’s real characters, Alex Murphy won the Challenge Cups with three different sides, guiding the latter Warrington to glory as a player/coach.

One of the most complete Rugby League players that this country has ever produced, Murphy took his first Challenge Cup honours with St Helens in 1961, repeating the feat in 1966.

Then came one of the biggest Challenge Cup final upsets of all time as Murphy and his Leigh team-mates defeated a star-studded Leeds side to clinch the 1971 trophy.

After that match, Lance Todd Trophy winner Murphy said in his usual tongue-in-cheek way: “Two cups in one day and I can’t remember both of them!”

Martin Offiah – Wigan

There is a bar at Wembley named after two-time Lance Todd Trophy winner Martin Offiah, such was his impact on the Challenge Cup final.

The Wigan legend scored what is rated by most as the best ever try scored in a Challenge Cup final. He picked the ball up five metres from his in-goal area and burst through a gap between the Leeds chasers, and when he had finally shaken off Leeds full-back Alan Tait, the try line was at his mercy.

“Of the 500 tries I scored, I have to pick that one out as the best, given the time and the place,” Offiah said, speaking of that try from the 1994 final. “It still gives me great pleasure watching it now.”

He won the Lance Todd Trophy that year, as well as in 1992, to sit alongside the four Challenge Cups he had lifted at Wigan.

Martin Offiah powers past Leeds in the 1994 Challenge Cup final.

Roger Millward's long awaited moment of fame in the 1980 Grand Final.

Roger Millward – Hull KR

A broken jaw wasn’t going to prevent Roger Millward from finally completing his legacy at Hull KR as he won the Challenge Cup at the 17th attempt. And what made the triumph even more spectacular, was the fact that it was a Hull-derby final at Wembley in 1980.

After just 13 minutes, the Rovers captain took a late hit by Ron Wileman and for the third time that season, Millward’s jaw was broken.

After a 20 minute spell on the sidelines, adrenaline overtook the pain and returned to the field and went onto slot over a drop goal to win Rovers’ first and so far only Challenge Cup.