St Helens are down under to test themselves against the best of Australia.
Undoubtedly the best of Europe in the last five years winning four consecutive Super League Grand Finals as well as three League Leaders’ Shields in five years as well as a Challenge Cup Final in 2021, they are now set to test themselves against the back-to-back NRL Champions Penrith Panthers.
On Saturday, they defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons 30-18 in a warm up for the game as part of the NRL’s Pre-Season Challenge.
A statement win at the end of a 10 day build up as they go into a week’s build up for the Panthers.
However, respected Australian journalist Phil Rothfield has revealed that the Saints have been disrespected down under.
As aforementioned, the Saints have been in the country for some time and had no welcome from the NRL.
He said in the Daily Telegraph: “English champions St Helens have been in Sydney for a week to prepare for the World Club Challenge against the Penrith Panthers.
“They have still not heard from Andrew Abdo or anyone from NRL senior management. No welcoming function, not even a phone call.
“This is the exact opposite to the wonderful hospitality afforded to NRL clubs when they are on tour in England.”
This comes as controversial NRL pundit and Canterbury Bulldogs Chief Phil Gould claimed that Penrith would be “able to declare by halftime” against St Helens next week.
He also said he pitched that the NRL should buy Super League in the ARL Commission in 2020.
Despite this disrespect from high profile figures, Australian fans have seemingly taken an interest with the Daily Telegraph revealing that a TV audience of 178,000 watched the Saints which was more than the likes of Penrith Panthers and Sydney Roosters and above the week’s average of 177,000.