BOOKIES Ladbrokes can’t decide who are most likely to win the final of the competition they sponsor.
After the weekend’s seventh round ties and yesterday’s semi-final draw, Ladbrokes have Leeds Rhinos, St Helens and Warrington Wolves all priced at 9-4 to win the Challenge Cup, while they make Hull KR the 9-2 outsiders.
Holders Leeds will face Saints in the semi-finals, for the sixth time in rugby league’s summer era, with Hull KR taking on Warrington in the other last-four tie, to be played on Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1.
Dates and venues for the matches will be announced early this week, after discussions involving the clubs, RFL and BBC, who will broadcast both ties live.
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington believes the bookies’ indecision is understandable.
“Most semi-finals are 50-50 games,” Hetherington said.
“You usually do get a favourite and an underdog, but it can go either way.
“Last year we were underdogs against Warrington and we have gone into semi-finals as favourites and lost.
“Whatever happens between now and the semi-final, both ourselves and Saints will go into it with a 50-50 chance of winning.”
Hetherington is hoping for a Yorkshire semi-final this year, after Leeds had to travel to Langtree Park, St Helens, to face Warrington in 2014.
And he said: “I think Headingley will come into play for the other game, being about half-way between Warrington and Hull.”
Leeds, who are currently top of Super League, have a home fixture against Saints on Friday.
“The semi-final draw will add spice to that and we have four big league games before the Cup tie,” Hetherington said.
“In effect, it is just another in a series of semi-finals for us.”
Hull KR, meanwhile, are looking forward to their first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006, when, as a National League One club, they were beaten 50-0 by St Helens.