Red Star Belgrade

As Challenge Cup final week heats up, Red Star Belgrade have revealed their intention to return to the competition next year.

The Serbian side made history with its Cup debut in January, losing to Millom on a memorable afternoon in Cumbria. Red Star owner Colin Kleyweg was initially disappointed in the the 38-10 defeat and unsure whether to seek a place in the 2020 competition.

But as the sport prepares for Saturday’s Wembley showpiece between St Helens and Warrington, Kleyweg says: “Coach Phil Economidis has returned to Belgrade to continue his work with Red Star Belgrade Rugby League Club.

“Phil was an interim coach in 2018 for a three-month period but he left such an impression on his players, with Serbia making a similar impression on him that it was inevitable he would return when the time was right for both.

“When we told the players that Phil would return, the instant reaction of the whole playing group was boisterous, loud and positive. Our players formed a deep loyalty with Phil in a very short period of time and I look forward to seeing the impact Phil can have over a longer time period on the players and the club.”

Kleyweg, Economidis and the Red Star club are hopeful the Rugby Football League will confirm in the coming months their entry to the 2020 Challenge Cup.