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Australian journalists slam St Helens as ‘scared’ following World Club Challenge latest

It’s been one of the main talking points in recent weeks, but the World Club Challenge looks to be dead in the water.

That’s despite St Helens’ best efforts to do all they can to host the Penrith Panthers.

The Panthers then, however, laid down the marker to St Helens, stating that they would only agree to the duel if Saints travelled to Australia.

Penrith CEO Brian Fletcher previously revealed on SEN170 that “I think we’ll give that the flick for this year,” in response to a question about whether the fixture could go ahead.

Melbourne Storm and St Helens couldn’t play the fixture in 2021 due to the ongoing challenges provided by the Covid-19 pandemic, and a meeting in Australia was said to be the only solution to see a World Club Challenge played in 2022, too.

The Leeds Rhinos were the last Super League side to make the trip to the southern hemisphere for a World Club Challenge in 2018 when they lost to Melbourne at AAMI Park.

Fletcher had previously been keen for another visit to go ahead.

And, two senior journalists Down Under, Andrew Ferguson and the LeagueFreak have also come out in support of Saints making the trip over, labelling the club as ‘scared’ if they don’t.

“I think they’re scared, Penrith said ‘we’ve got the venue and the date, come on over and play the game,'” the LeagueFreak said on the Fergo & the Freak podcast.

“St Helens fans got upset when I started mentioning all the Super League clubs that were willing to travel to Australia with the likes of Wigan, Leeds, Wigan again and Hull FC all making the trip in the past ten years.

“I pointed that out and Saints fans got upset and other NRL fans said it was weird they wouldn’t come.

“I ran a poll and 60% of people said it’s embarrassing that St Helens will not travel, with 40% saying it is totally understandable.”

The LeagueFreak went on to suggest that Saints have an easy task.

“Apparently their problem is that they want money.

“I pointed out that Saints aren’t Wigan and Leeds – there’s a certain draw for certain teams and I think St Helens need to understand that.

“They have the easiest part, they just need to fly over, but I barely pay attention to the World Club Challenge anyway.”

Slamming the best team in the Super League competition is hardly the most conducive way to make friends in the northern hemisphere.

And, that last sentence provided on the podcast perhaps shows the attitude that most of those Down Under have when it comes to world and international fixtures.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Rugby Dude

    January 3, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    Super League really needs to stop trying to cosy up to the NRL and just do it’s own thing. The NRL always has a “better than thou” attitude towards any rugby outside of the Southern Hemisphere and will only ever tolerate them at best. If the NRL “crowd” want to keep that attitude up and disregard a team which has won three straight titles, along with other teams like Catalans and even 💩 Warrington, whilst stating that only Wigan and Leeds (who, in Leeds’ case, have spent much of the last few years scraping into the play offs), then they aren’t worth the efforts it would take for Super League teams to maintain any sort of relationship with them.
    Leeds and Wigan are two of the more prominent teams in Super League, that is without question, but the attitude down under is that nobody else is worth any effort, even when those two teams are not the strongest performing within the competition, so you may as well cut ties and leave them be. Unite with the women’s game, attempt to sell the men’s and women’s games as a combined package to generate a self-sustaining sport and develop more practical, convenient competitions within the Northern Hemisphere. There is not much point holding the Southern Hemisphere game up as the pinnacle of the sport and where the Northern game itself wishes to be when the Southern game mocks the hard work and achievements of those within the Northern game and does very little to accommodate any meaningful competition.

    • Rugby Dude

      January 3, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      I personally believe it would be more beneficial to reach a position where the England team can have at least five matches a year against the likes of France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, a combined Rest of Britain/the UK team, a European select team, a heritage team for all of the British players with heritage within Jamaica etc, but pick one for a one or two year cycle and stick to it, rather than one or two matches every two years against Southern Hemisphere teams. If a tour can be set up around the Southern Hemisphere, great, but that will not happen all of the time.
      There also isn’t much use cobbling together an “All Stars” team for a one-off game in England.
      Why not try for one year, go for a Combined Britain/UK team, and the next, a combined European team?
      Allow them to train a few times, give them some sort of continuity across the year with the same coaching team, pick your 20 man squad and only change up a couple who are not available at the end of the cycle or a couple of new additions, all leading up to a small test series at the end of the year.
      Pick a base for them to allow community engagement throughout the year, and then use that stadium for the tests.

  2. Nathanael

    January 3, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    I know the World Club Challenge is an RFL competition and the original agreement saw Australian clubs come to Britain. However the least British clubs could do is go to Australia once in a while as a show of good will. Collaboration between the Super League and NRL is needed to grow rugby league globally and would benefit the UK a lot as it’s a lower standard than Australia.

  3. Ewan Marshall

    January 5, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    League Freak is not a journalist, he is just a troll

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