WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats head coach John Kear is expecting a Carnegie Challenge Cup final thriller tomorrow, Saturday, when Wigan Warriors go head-to-head with Leeds Rhinos at Wembley.
Both sides have had to endure long waits since their last Challenge Cup glory, Wigan in 2002 and Leeds in 1999, and Kear, who is co-commentating on the final for the first time believes the teams will be desperate to win.
Kear said: “It has all the ingredients of a classic. They are two very good teams on paper: Wigan have been consistently good and Leeds have not been so consistent but have the ability to beat anyone on their day.
“It is a one-off game and I think it will be a lot closer than some people expect.
“Leeds will click at some point this season and it may as well happen in a final.”
Warriors are the favourites to prevail but Leeds can defeat their rivals if certain players can rise to the occasion, according to Kear who said: “Leeds have got to make an impact in the pack and down the middle and if players like Rob Burrow and Danny Buderus can play at their best they may be able to punch through Wigan’s miserly defence.”
Wigan’s star full-back Sam Tomkins is the favourite to put in a match-winning performance that will earn him the Lance Todd Trophy and Kear recognises he will play a key role.
“Tomkins has got be closely policed but it is easy to say that, it is another matter doing it.”
Kear is predicting a close win for Wigan but with plenty of points on the scoreboard. “There will be probably 40 or 50 points shared between them,” he said.
“I think they will go hard at each other in the opening stages with plenty of emotion.
“There will be a period where the intensity will drop off and the game will become less open.
“The result will come down to which team dominates that period.”
He added: “I am really excited about the game. We are overdue a thriller and this year’s final promises to be one.”
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