Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott has admitted he is relishing the chance to go up against his Warrington Wolves counterpart Tony Smith in the Challenge Cup final on Saturday (Leeds 12/5, draw 22/1, Warrington 1/3 Match Betting with bet365).
Before taking over at the Wire, Smith enjoyed three successful years at Headingley with the Rhinos, as he guided the West Yorkshire outfit to two Super League titles.
McDermott was the understudy to Smith during his spell at Leeds (9/1 – Super League Grand Final outright with bet365) and the current Rhinos boss believes Smith is one of the greatest coaches to have been involved in the game.
He said: “I think Tony Smith is the greatest overseas coach we have ever had in this country.
“I have a great deal of admiration for Tony and have always gone on record to say how much I learnt from working alongside him.
“We face a very tough Warrington side on Saturday, not just because of the talents they possess as individuals but because those individuals are coached by Tony Smith.”
Leeds have not won the Challenge Cup since they triumphed over the London Broncos back in 1999 and McDermott will be hoping to get one over on his former mentor when the two sides take the field at Wembley this weekend.
Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield (7/1 to win Man of the Match with bet365) believes the stage is set for rising star Stevie Ward (22/1) to prove his potential when the Rhinos take on Warrington Wolves in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.
The utility player only made his debut for the Rhinos this season but is set to line up at Wembley as Leeds go in search of the trophy that has eluded them since 1999, and avoid a hat-trick of Challenge Cup final defeats (Leeds 12/5, Tie 22/1, Warrington 1/3 Match Betting with bet365).
Sinfield secured the Lance Todd Trophy in 2005 for the Rhinos in the narrow 25-24 defeat against Hull and the Rhinos skipper insists that it would not be a surprise if Ward emulated his success this weekend.
“It’s probably made for him,” said Sinfield. “As an 18-year-old, you don’t have any fear.
“He’s full of enthusiasm and he’s got plenty of class about him. To be given an opportunity like that at 18 years of age is unbelievable but I think he’ll relish it.
“I think you’ll probably see his best game this year.”
Jamie Jones-Buchanan knows Leeds Rhinos face a stiff test in the Challenge Cup final against Warrington Wolves on Saturday (Leeds 12/5, Warrington 1/3 – match prices with bet365) but has called on his side to take their chance at Wembley.
The Rhinos have not lifted the Challenge Cup since 1999 and head into Saturday’s showdown as underdogs.
Leeds, who have confirmed Rob Burrow is fit for the big clash, have been impressive in the Super League in recent times but the Challenge Cup has eluded them over the past 13 years.
However, Jones-Buchanan has issued a rallying cry to the rest of the squad and wants them to seize the opportunity against the Wolves (Leeds/Leeds – Double Result – 4/1 with bet365).
He said in his BBC Sport column: “We have an opportunity on Saturday to do something great and something we have never done as a group – win the Challenge Cup.
“Warrington Wolves deservedly sit in the top two and find themselves in yet another final.”
He added: “Winning the Challenge Cup is no easy task – if it was it wouldn’t be so special.”
Tags: Challenge Cup, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Leeds Rhinos, match betting, Rob Burrow, rugby league bet, rugby league betting, rugby league odds, warrington wolves, Wembley
Challenge Cup | Rugby League Betting News | August 21, 2012 18:07 |
Leeds Rhinos utility man Carl Ablett hopes his side can make it third time lucky when they face Warrington Wolves in the Challenge Cup final on Sunday.
The reigning Super League champions haven’t managed to get their hands on the trophy since 1999, despite reaching the final five times since their previous success.
The Rhinos have also suffered heartache at Wembley in the last two consecutive years, slumping to a 30-6 loss at the hands of Saturday’s opponents Warrington in 2010 and succumbing 28-18 to Wigan last year.
Ablett admits he is now desperate to end the Rhinos’ recent reputation as nearly men in the competition and help his side secure the Challenge Cup title on Saturday – but he is well aware Leeds will have to be at their best if they are to get the better of Tony Smith’s men.
“When you work so hard to get there, it’s not nice but it was a great experience for everybody and I feel we’ve learned a little bit from both of them,” said Ablett, who can play at centre or second row.
“Hopefully, the experiences of the last two years will stand us in good stead and it will all come together this time.”
He added: “It would be massive to climb up those steps at Wembley. We’ve watched teams do it the last two years and it’s probably not the greatest to watch.”
Warrington are seeking a third Challenge Cup crown in four years but the Wolves came unstuck at the weekend as a much-changed Wire side suffered a shock 62-18 loss at London Broncos.
Leeds also lost their final game ahead of the Wembley showdown, as the Rhinos slipped to a narrow 38-34 defeat at Catalan Dragons.
Warrington are considered the 3/10 favourites to win the tournament outright ahead of Saturday’s contest, while Leeds can be backed at 12/5 to pick up the Challenge Cup title for the first time in 13 years.
Tags: 80 minutes, anytime tryscorer, Carl Ablett, first scoring play, grand final, Leeds Rhinos, match handicap, outright winner, Super League, total points, warrington wolves
Challenge Cup, Rugby League, Super League | Rugby League Betting News | August 20, 2012 13:52 |
Leeds Rhinos (12/5 to lift Challenge Cup) coach Brian McDermott feels his side are in good shape ahead of Saturday’s Wembley date with Warrington Wolves, despite defeat in the south of France.
Leeds staged a late rally at the Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday but left themselves with too much to do and fell to a 38-34 loss. The result moved Catalans Dragons back ahead of the Rhinos in the race for the top four.
McDermott’s men will take heart from the way they pushed the Dragons for the whole 80 minutes, in sharp contrast to Warrington’s (3/10 to win at Wembley) dismal 62-18 reverse at lowly London Broncos.
The reigning Super League champions have been dealt a serious injury blow in the lead-up to the Challenge Cup final, with key half-back Danny McGuire ruled out with a knee injury. Rob Burrow is also a doubt with a calf problem. He missed this weekend’s trip across the Channel.
Leeds came through the match without any further injury problems, though Ryan Bailey faces an anxious wait after he was placed on report.
“We have picked up a few bumps and bruises but nothing too serious. I would like to pay tribute to our coaching, conditioning and medical team because they have worked so hard to make sure we have done everything possible to get over here and hopefully home again in the best possible shape for Wembley,” said McDermott.
Tags: brian mcdermott, Catalan Dragons, Challenge Cup, Danny McGuire, Leeds Rhinos, london broncos, Rob Burrow, rugby league betting, rugby league odds, warrington wolves
Challenge Cup | Rugby League Betting News | August 19, 2012 15:17 |
Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott said the “worst possible news” that Danny McGuire will miss the Challenge Cup final because of a knee injury would force him “to have a major rethink about tactics” (Warrington 4/9 Leeds 7/4 – Challenge Cup outright bet365).
A devastated McDermott revealed the injury suffered by Super League’s joint leading try scorer of all time would rule McGuire out of the Wembley showpiece with Warrington Wolves on August 25.
It means the England international, who is facing eight weeks on the sidelines, will miss out this year on the chance to win the one major trophy which has eluded him in his illustrious career (Leeds 12/5 tie 22/1 Warrington 1/3 – 80 minutes bet365).
“We are absolutely devastated for Danny that he will miss out on Wembley,” said Rhinos head coach McDermott.
“This is the worst possible news that we could have received less than a fortnight before the final and clearly we will have to have a major rethink about our tactics going into the game.”
Leeds have not won the Challenge Cup since 1999 but beat Tony Smith’s men 26-18 at Headingley in March, although the Wolves gained revenge when winning 37-18 in June on home soil.
Halifax’s Luke Ambler doesn’t believe that the last-gasp defeat to Leigh Centurions in last year’s Northern Rail Cup Final will play on the minds of the players when they make their second consecutive appearance in the showpiece match this Sunday (Match betting – Featherstone 2/5, tie 20/1, Halifax 21/10 with bet365).
Halifax had one hand on the trophy as the Final approached the dying stages in 2011, but a last gasp try from Leigh denied the West Yorkshire club glory in the cruelest possible manner.
But Ambler, who is loan at Halifax from parent club Leeds Rhinos, is adamant that his team-mates have moved on from the heartache of 12 months ago and are in a fantastic frame of mind ahead of their showdown with Championship league leaders Featherstone.
“There is a lot of new personnel at the club this year with a new coach in Karl (Harrison) and new players so I don’t think last year’s final will be on too many minds going into the game,” said the 22-year-old, who joined Halifax on a temporary basis after finding first-team opportunities difficult to come by at Headingley.
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott has instead opted to select experienced players in his front row, as the Rhinos aim to defend the Super League title they won in 2011 and lift the Challenge Cup when they face Warrington in the Final next month (Leeds 13/8 to win the Challenge Cup Final with bet365).
For Ambler, though, Sunday’s match in Blackpool represents an opportunity for him to gain experience in a showpiece game in front of his hometown fans.
“I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I’m from Halifax, which makes it extra special for me and I hope we can do the fans proud on Sunday. Their support is overwhelming.”
Luke Robinson is targeting a Challenge Cup final success to give outgoing Huddersfield Giants (12/1 Tournament Outright with bet365) coach Nathan Brown the perfect send off.
Brown is set to depart the Galpharm Stadium at the end of the season to take up the position with St Helens but he will do so having transformed the fortunes of the Giants.
Although competing at the top end of the Super League table, Robinson is hoping to reward Brown with his first piece of silverware as gratitude for turning his own career around.
“Nathan Brown has been fantastic for my career,” said Robinson. “For a fair few of us in 2008, our careers were kind of stalling, maybe having plateaued a little bit. Maybe we had lost a little direction.
“But when he came on board, he took the club to a consistent top-four level and also developed individual careers – including my own – so I am thankful for that.
“It would definitely be nice to return that by getting a winner’s medal for Nathan.”
Firstly, the Giants have to get to Wembley and there are not many giving them a chance of turning around a recent slump in form – one win in the last eight – when they take on Warrington Wolves at Salford on Sunday (Huddersfield 7/2, Tie 25/1, Warrington 1/5 Match Betting with bet365).
Leeds second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan believes that the vociferous backing of a West Yorkshire crowd can fire the Rhinos to victory in Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final clash with Wigan at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium (Leeds 11/4, tie 22/1, Wigan 2/7 – Match Betting with bet365).
The Rhinos head into the match with wind in their sales following a morale-boosting victory over Hull FC last Friday, although the Warriors are in strong form too, have cemented their position at the top of the Super League table with a resounding win away at Wakefield last weekend.
But long-serving Leeds man Jones-Buchanan believes that ‘home’ advantage in nearby town Huddersfield could present the underdogs with an important advantage as they aim to book their consecutive appearance in a Wembley final.
“It does make a huge difference to the team when you come out to that sort of reception. I remember last season when we played here in the play-offs, it felt like a home game when we ran out of the tunnel and immediately that gives you a lift,” he said.
“I am really excited about the game, the team are in good spirits and we are ready for the challenge ahead.”
The Rhinos have staged something of a resurgence in recent weeks and stand a fairly realistic chance of defending the Super League trophy they lifted in 2011 (Leeds 8/1 to win the Super League Grand Final with bet365).
Tags: challenge cup betting and odds, challenge cup semi-final betting and odds, galpharm stadium, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Leeds Rhinos, rugby betting, rugby league betting and odds, rugby odds, Wembley, Wigan Warriors
Challenge Cup | Rugby League Betting News | July 13, 2012 15:29 |
Warrington Wolves utility man Stefan Ratchford says there is no way that either he or his team-mates will be underestimating Huddersfield in Sunday’s Challenge Cup semi-final (Huddersfield 7/2, draw 25/1 Warrington 1/5 with bet365).
The Wolves are massive favourites going into the game following their win over the Catalans Dragons on Monday, while the Giants have been in woeful form – losing seven of their last eight matches in Super League.
After starting the campaign in sparkling form, their recent run has seen them drop down the table and they now sit seventh, 10 points behind leaders Wigan.
Ratchford has been one of the finds of the season having moved to the Halliwell Jones Stadium from Salford in the off-season, filling in for a number of key players during Tony Smith’s side’s difficult spell with injuries.
The 23-year-old is understandably excited about the prospect of appearing in the semi-final and insists that there is no way the Wolves (6/4 Challenge Cup outright with bet365) will be complacent going into the game.
“We’ve got to stay grounded on this one,” he said. “It’s knock-out rugby, so you’ve got to win. It’s win or bust this weekend.
“We know that with the way we’ve been playing and the form that we’re in, if we turn up and play like we have been doing then we’re pretty confident we can get the win but it’s going to be a tough ask and a tough game,” he added.
Tags: challenge cup bets, Challenge Cup odds, challenge cup semi-final odds, huddersfield giants betting, huddersfield giants odds, rugby league bets, rugby league betting, rugby league odds, super league odds, warrington wolves bets, warrington wolves odds
Challenge Cup | Rugby League Betting News | July 12, 2012 16:01 |