Challenge Cup Final 2022: Huddersfield Giants aim to kick off a weekend to remember in West Yorkshire | rugby league news

Huddersfield Giants and Huddersfield Town head to London this weekend with their sights set on glory on the rugby league and soccer pitches; The Giants take on the Wigan Warriors in Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup final, while Town take on Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on Sunday.

Last update: 05/27/22 11:07 am

Huddersfield's Jermaine McGillvary celebrates with fans following Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Hull Kingston Rovers

Huddersfield’s Jermaine McGillvary celebrates with fans following Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Hull Kingston Rovers

When Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers fans flocked to Wembley for the 1980 Challenge Cup Final, there was a famous homemade sign erected on the side of the road leading out of town reading “Last out, turn off lights”.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see something similar appear on the A642 from Huddersfield before this weekend, as thousands flock to London for big matches involving both rugby league and the city’s football teams.

On Saturday, Huddersfield Giants take on Wigan Warriors in this year’s Challenge Cup Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, followed by Huddersfield Town taking on Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Play-Off Final. Championship a day later 12 miles through the capital at Wembley for a place in the Premier League next season.

“It’s huge and you’d think Huddersfield would be empty on Saturday and Sunday,” Giants head coach Ian Watson said. sky sports.

“It’s one of those where this doesn’t normally happen, where two teams sharing the same stadium in the same city and community make it to two grand finals.

“I know they are playing to get to the Premier League, but it’s a big game for them and this is a big game for us. History shows you how big this competition is.”

It has been 69 years since Huddersfield last brought this particular – one of the sport’s top honours – to rugby league’s birthplace when two tries by Lance Todd Trophy winner Peter Ramsden helped them lift the Challenge Cup for the sixth time in a 15-10 win over Saint Helena.

It is one of those in which this does not usually happen, where two teams that share the same stadium in the same town and community reach two grand finals.

Huddersfield Giants head coach Ian Watson

But, following league championship glory in 1962, the intervening decades saw a slow decline that saw the club’s existence threatened in both the 1980s and 1990s, though since regaining promotion to the Super League for the 2003 season they have been an established presence in the top division.

Their football counterparts at John Smith’s Stadium are also about to return to the top flight and Giants fullback Tui Lolohea is looking forward to kicking off a weekend of sporting celebration in his corner of West Yorkshire.

“Hopefully some of the Town fans will support Huddersfield as a town, as a community and probably both clubs are going in the right direction at the moment,” said Lolohea. sky sports.

“If they win, they’re in the Premier League and that’s pretty big. Hopefully we can both get a win at the weekend and Huddersfield can have a great parade and a great party.”

Jordan Rhodes converted the end of Sorba Thomas's free kick to score what turned out to be the goal that sent Huddersfield through to the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

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Jordan Rhodes converted the end of Sorba Thomas’s free kick to score what turned out to be the goal that sent Huddersfield through to the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Jordan Rhodes converted the end of Sorba Thomas’s free kick to score what turned out to be the goal that sent Huddersfield through to the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

“There’s a lot of history in Huddersfield, it’s the birthplace of rugby league and they haven’t won trophies for a long time. Hopefully this is the building phase and we can put pride back in the Huddersfield name.”

Giants have averaged over 5,000 home attendance in the Super League so far this season, while Town’s average innings for home championship games in the 2021/22 campaign is over 15,500 .

It’s a far cry from the days when a record 32,912 streamed through the gates of the rugby league club’s former Fartown Ground to watch Huddersfield play Wigan in this weekend’s Cup final in March 1950, but Watson is optimistic the Giants are beginning to build a new audience.

“You want some of those football fans to come and watch rugby and continue to watch rugby,” Watson said.

If they win, they’re in the Premier League and that’s pretty big. Hopefully we can both get a win at the weekend, and Huddersfield can have a great parade and a great party.

Tui Lolohea, Huddersfield Giants fullback

“I’ve seen it a lot before where some people said they’ve never seen rugby before, then they watched the semi-final where we played Hull KR and now they watch it every week.

“That way you get bigger crowds, more interested people, younger players who want to be a part of Huddersfield and you get bigger sponsors as well.”

However, the Giants boss is well aware that any immediate success must continue to be built on, as the club was unable to follow up on the success of the League Leaders’ Shield in 2013 and only now finds itself in contention again for the top prizes of the sport.

However, reclaiming Challenge Cup glory against the club that have won it a record 19 times would be the perfect way to fuel a long-term revival.

What happened when Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors met in the final trial of the Betfred Challenge Cup in the Betfred Super League two weeks ago?

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What happened when Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors met in the final trial of the Betfred Challenge Cup in the Betfred Super League two weeks ago?

What happened when Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors met in the final trial of the Betfred Challenge Cup in the Betfred Super League two weeks ago?

“It would mean everything,” Watson said. It’s been a long, long time, so what we want to do is try to build something successful and continually be in the running for trophies.

“This is the first step for us and what we want to do is make sure we keep doing it. Getting a win this weekend would help.”

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