Whitehaven head coach Jonty Gorley is well aware his side face the toughest of tests against St Helens in the Betfred Challenge Cup on Saturday (St Helens -56 handicap – EVS) but insists “anything can happen” in the sixth round tie.
Saints are big favourites to progress past the Betfred Championship outfit and start the defence of their Challenge Cup crown with a comfortable victory in the 14:00 kick-off.
Gorley says his players will relish taking on the Betfred Super League champions at their LEL Arena home, where a crowd of at least 5,000 is set to be in attendance, in the hope of seeing a huge upset. Whitehaven are 25/1 to win the tie and 20/21 with a +56 point handicap.
He said: “Hopefully with the best team in the country coming to the county, you’d like to think there will be around 5,000. It will make a good atmosphere for the lads.
“It’s a massive opportunity for the lads to say they’ve played against some of the best in the world. (St Helens) have proved they’re the best team in the last few years and they’re the best team now.”
While admitting it will be a huge task for his side, Gorley hopes his players do everything possible to at least give themselves a chance of a surprise win.
He added: “It’s going to be a big ask for our lads to compete with them. Anything can happen in Rugby League. If our 17 players have the best game they’ve ever had and St Helens are a bit off form, who knows what happens?
“All I can ask of my players is to give me 100 per cent in commitment, attitude and effort. Whatever happens off the back of that, I’ll have to be happy if they’ve given me their all.”
There are four other sixth round Betfred Challenge Cup ties taking place on Saturday with Sheffield Eagles hosting Hull FC (Sheffield 14/1, tie 28/1, Hull FC 1/40 – Match Betting), at 14:00, while Catalans Dragons entertain Featherstone Rovers at 14:30 (Catalans 1/22, tie 28/1, Featherstone 11/1 – Match Betting).
Hull KR are at home to Leigh Centurions at 15:00 (Hull KR 1/5, tie 22/1 Leigh 4/1 – Match Betting) and Leeds Rhinos take on Castleford Tigers at 16:30 (Leeds 1/2, tie 20/1, Castleford 9/5 – Match Betting).