AS Warrington Wolves start the defence of the Challenge Cup on Saturday, it is perhaps natural for “that day at Wembley” to be spoken of at length.

St Helens once again stand in the way of their ambitions, this time with a semi-final spot at stake as opposed to the trophy itself.

There will be no ticker tape celebrations or town hall homecomings for the winners at the AJ Bell Stadium, but that will not mean it matters any less to either side.

For Wire head coach Steve Price, the 18-4 win last August to bring the famous trophy back to Warrington remains his crowning glory since moving to England.

However, he is keen for that to remain in the past.

“We’re really looking forward to it. We can’t wait,” he said.

“The Challenge Cup is very exciting and as a club, we’ve done pretty well in it over the years. We’ll be doing our utmost to continue that against St Helens on Saturday.

“They’ve been a benchmark club for a while but I’m really pleased with where we’re at at the moment.

“We’re improving our rugby and we’re going in with a lot of confidence. We need to be better on Saturday though as it’s going to be a high-quality match.”

On the sides’ last Challenge Cup meeting, he said: “It’s definitely the proudest moment of my time in England, but that’s history now.

“It’s all about the 80 minutes on Saturday.”

The Wembley win and the 19-0 victory Warrington recorded over their near neighbours in Super League back in February will certain raise hopes Wolves can continue their fine form in what will be their biggest test since rugby league got going again after the coronavirus lockdown.

Warrington Guardian:

The Wire beat St Helens in February. Picture by Mike Boden

However, both teams – and the game as a whole – have changed and come a long way since then.

Both have probably been the best exponents of new rules making for a faster game, with both unbeaten since the restart.

In return for putting a dent in the other’s record, the victors will contest the semi-finals on October 3 and beyond that, the final on October 17 – hopefully at Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd.

Despite the uncertainty about where any prospective final will be held and whether or not the teams in it will be backed by supporters in person has led some to suggest the competition has less meaning – a notion Price has rejected.

“It’s one of those things – we can’t control what this pandemic has brought to the world,” he said.

“It is quite difficult for the players with no crowd, but they have the chance to show our supporters what they can do on TV.

“Hopefully we can make some inroads into the Challenge Cup and we can have a crowd at Wembley.

“First and foremost, our focus is 80 minutes on Saturday and we can’t look past that.”