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The RFL and Rugby League Commercial have confirmed that Martin Offiah MBE has accepted an invitation to be Chief Guest at the 2024 Betfred Challenge Cup Finals Day – 30 years since he scored probably the most celebrated try in the long history of Rugby League being played at Wembley Stadium.

Offiah played in four consecutive Wembley Finals for Wigan from 1992-95, in which he scored a total of four tries - including the length of the field spectacular against Leeds in 1994, when he was awarded the Lance Todd Trophy as player of the match.

That try earned him a place on the Rugby League Statue alongside four other greats of the sport which was installed at Wembley in 2015, captured in the celebration of his try which has become equally famous, on his knees with his head in his hands in an instant reflection of the moment.

Offiah also represented Great Britain at Wembley in a famous win against Australia in 1990, in which he scored a try, and played in two World Cup Finals at the Stadium, for Great Britain in 1992 and for England in 1995.

The last of his eight Wembley appearances came 25 years ago for London Broncos, when he suffered his only Challenge Cup Final defeat against Leeds Rhinos – but scored another spectacular try.

The Chief Guest has been a part of the Challenge Cup tradition since the Final was first held at Wembley in 1929, when Lord Daresbury was presented to the teams before the match, and presented the trophy after it.

There was an additional dimension to the role last year when Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons and the President of the Rugby Football League, became the first Chief Guest for a Women’s Challenge Cup Final – presenting the trophy to Jodie Cunningham and Emily Rudge of St Helens.

Sir Lindsay will again be in attendance this year and Martin Offiah will follow in his footsteps, with the second Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens preceding the Men’s Final between Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors.

Wigan were the winners of the first Wembley Final 95 years ago, and have the opportunity to mark the centenary of the first of their 20 Cup wins (a record) – when they beat Oldham 21-4 at Rochdale’s Athletic Grounds in 1924.

But the year 2024 also marks a significant anniversary for Warrington, 50 years since the fifth of their nine Challenge Cup wins, a 24-9 win against Featherstone Rovers in 1974 – when they went on to complete a double in the Club Championship that followed.

Martin Offiah MBE:

“I’ll be honoured to join the distinguished list of Chief Guests for the Challenge Cup Final - especially at Wembley Stadium, a place which holds so many happy memories for me.

“It’s scary to think it’s 34 years since I first played there for Great Britain, and 30 years since the try against Leeds – and it’s always cool to go back and see the statue, and think back to that day.

“I am pleased that Wigan are in the Final, but I have huge admiration for the Warrington club and the job that Sam Burgess has done as coach this season – so I’ll do my best to be neutral.

“And it’s a huge privilege to be the second Chief Guest for a double header of Challenge Cup Finals – taking the Women’s Final to Wembley last year was a great decision.”



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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 22nd May 2024 2:48 PM | Views : 5185 | Replies : 8 | BACK TO STORIES



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