HOW I would have loved to see both my former clubs as a player in one of the great spectacles in the rugby league calendar, the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley on August 25.

And what a final it would have been, with recent great rivalry between the two clubs.

However, thanks to a total first-half capitulation by Saints against the Catalans Dragons, it will be the French side who will run out on the hallowed turf against The Wire for the big finale, following their 35-16 demolition in the semi-final double header in Bolton.

I say capitulation, but take absolutely nothing away from Steve McNamara’s team. They came with a great game plan and executed it to the letter.

Like many, I am so disappointed in the performance following such a dominating season so far in the Betfred Super League.

As I’ve found out many a times as a player, previous results and form count for nothing in cup rugby.

It has been 10 years since Saints last graced Wembley in a Challenge Cup Final – when we beat Hull FC to retain the historic trophy – and after only 40 minutes on Sunday, a trip down the M1 looked a million miles away after the Dragons raced into a remarkable 27-0 half-time lead.

There was no way back for the runaway Betfred Super League leaders, and head coach Justin Holbrook was shellshocked as his star-studded team looked a good second best.

One of the great traits of Justin though, is he tells it how it is...and he openly admitted that his Saints were completely outplayed.

The sole French Betfred Super League side jumped out of the blocks and dominated play, with their forward pack marching the Saints defence upfield with playmakers Drinkwater, Gigot, Mead and McIlorum pulling the strings on the back of the big, aggressive pack.

Saints had to throw caution to the wind in the second half, which brought points but also numerous errors and the deficit was too big to pull back.

That’s the nature of RL! However, Justin and his team have to dust themselves off now and get all thoughts on the Betfred Super League and the resurgent Huddersfield Giants in the first week of the Super 8s.

Let’s get all the fans behind the boys at TWS and go full out for the remaining silverware. The fifth-place Giants will certainly be no pushovers, and following a week off they will be keen to inflict more hurt on the Saints.

However, I predict a big response from the league leaders and a win by 8pts+ (8/11 at Betfred).