I HAD the pleasure of being down at Wembley on Saturday for the Betfred Challenge Cup Final, and what an emotional occasion it was as the sport celebrated the life of Leeds Rhinos and England legend Rob Burrow.

A player who regularly shone on the big stage, it was a great day for the rugby league family to pay tribute to a modern day great, who sadly passed away aged just 41 with Motor Neurone Disease.

Victorious Wigan boss, Matt Peet cut to the chase when remembering Rob in his post match press conference following his side's 18-8 victory over the Warrington Wolves.

Peet said it was virtually impossible for there to be a fitting tribute to Rob, after everything he achieved.

He said: "One try won’t do it, one game won’t do it…I’ve never known a more respected man in any sport."

Rob was a guy who defied the odds all his life, forever being told he was too small to play the sport he loved.

However he certainly made those people look foolish, and that single-mindedness to defy the odds certainly helped him in his biggest fight after diagnosis in 2019.

Almost 65,000 people made the trip to Wembley to pay their respects to Rob, before a much anticipated final.

Warrington came out of the blocks, applying most of the pressure and field position in the opening 20 minutes of the game.

However, other than a Josh Thewlis penalty they couldn’t convert this pressure into points.

Wigan had very few attacking opportunities, but when they did, unlike the Wire they took their chances, scoring two tries in six minutes to lead 12-2 at the break.

I spoke in last week's column about Wigan’s resilience and superior big game experience…and although the game was far from a classic, neither team excelling with the ball but as expected Wigan’s dogged defence was the difference as they continuously frustrated the Wolves attack.

Yet again in a big game Warrington failed to deliver.

They looked lost of ideas in good ball, and got more and more frustrated and fatigued as the game went on. One try a piece in the second half, saw the Warriors take glory.

As I tipped last week, one player who could be the difference was Warriors half back Bevan French.

French admitted later that the whole build up and tribute to Rob Burrow inspired him to a Lance Todd winning performance, following the death of his own mother in 2022 to MND.

Bevan constantly looked threatening, be it with his electric pace on the ball, his short passing or kicking game.

He assisted the first try, scored the second and was by far the most influential player on the field.

The game certainly had a lively start with both Mike Cooper and Matt Dufty both being sin binned within three minutes of kick off!

Both players were subject to falling ball carriers, and neither intent on foul play, but unfortunately now this is the game and both teams found themselves down to 12 at the start of the biggest game so far this season.

With my Saints hat on, it was fantastic to watch the Saints women’s side retain their Betfred Challenge Cup trophy with a totally dominant performance over the Leeds Rhinos.

Saints have won this competition four years running now, but this year was by far the best as Matty Smith’s team subjected the Rhinos to an overwhelming 22-0 defeat.

It’s great to see the ever-growing women’s game continuing to thrive both on and off the pitch, inspiring many young girls to both play and watch RL.

This will only continue as the quality continues to improve. Well done Matty, Jodie and the whole team and staff on yet more silverware for Saints.

Back to the men's Betfred Super League. A fully refreshed St Helens are back in business on Sunday as they face wooden-spooners the London Broncos in the capital.

I honestly think only complacency can beat us this weekend, which I can’t see happening - and I'm therefore going for us winning by over 40 which is 6/4 at Betfred.

Title sponsors Betfred unsurprisingly have Wigan, who now hold all four available trophies to retain their Super League crown come October, at 5/6.

Current league leaders Saints are 5/2 with Warrington 7/1, while dark horses Hull KR are worth a punt at 9/1 and Catalans are out to 10/1.