Challenge Cup semi-finals with no crowds will certainly be different for the players – but if you can’t find extra motivation for this then you shouldn’t be on the pitch.
It will be strange for them not having that enthusiasm, energy and noise from the stands, but they have to find a way past that.
Leeds versus Wigan kicks the day off and has been one of biggest rivalries of the Super League era.
I was very impressed with Wigan in the last round against Hull – they executed a gameplay designed to win knock-out football perfectly.
Leeds have the capabilities to beat Wigan for sure but they know they will have to play exceptionally well.
The key players will be in the halves – Jackson Hastings for the Warriors and Luke Gale at the Rhinos.
I like half-backs with egos – you need one in that position – and these are the kind of guys that want to play in the biggest occasions.
In the other game, what a story Salford are – 80 minutes away from their second final in the space of 12 months.
It speaks volumes about Ian Watson as a coach and the club’s ability to recruit the right players.
When you watch them play they are more than the sum of their parts – which is the sign of a good coach.
Warrington, the holders, are littered with stars.
They played in the game of the season so far against St Helens in the quarter-finals, and were superb that day.
If they reach those heights again they will be difficult to beat.
Tui Lolohea is key for Salford – when he’s good, he’s unplayable – while Daryl Clark has stood out for the Wolves with the new rules really suiting him.
I’m going to go with a Leeds-Warrington final, but unfortunately I won’t be able to watch either match as I’ll be undertaking the biggest challenge I’ve ever done.
Around that time I’ll be running an ultra marathon covering 33 miles with 7,000ft of climbing involved for my old team-mate Rob Burrow – you can donate here.
- *** Betfred – Passionate about rugby league ***
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