A date has reportedly been finalised for the World Club Challenge between Wigan Warriors and Penrith Panthers as the best of Super League and the best of the NRL lock horns.
It was revealed earlier this week that the game would be held in the UK with Penrith boycotting the NRL’s now annual Pre-Season Challenge.
However, they will be playing at the same time as this challenge but over in the UK. It is being reported that the World Club Challenge will take place on Saturday 24th February which is concurrent with the second round of fixtures in the Pre-Season Challenge.
This makes a lot of sense and gives the NRL Champions two weeks to prepare for the start of the season which will reportedly see them take on Melbourne Storm.
Wigan though will likely be in the midst of Super League with Round One likely to be earlier in February as in recent years.
How this will affect their preparation but also their league campaign remains to be seen. Last year St Helens went down under and played a warm up fixture against St George Illawarra Dragons prior to the World Club Challenge at the same time as Round One in Super League.
This also creates a problem for Penrith who may struggle to find a warm up fixture of their own the week before if Super League is in full swing.
Their rivals will be getting two games in over February as confirmed by the announcement of the Pre-Season Challenge fixtures.
The NRL Pre-Season Challenge kicks off on February 15 and will feature 16 intense and intriguing clashes across two weekends of entertaining footy that sets the stage for the Telstra Premiership.
Reigning champions Manly will be out to defend their title as they unveil their new halves pairing of Daly Cherry-Evans and Luke Brooks, while a host of other clubs are set to unleash big-name recruits in their first serious hit-out for 2024.
The Pre-Season Challenge provides the perfect opportunity to fine tune combinations and get some serious game time under the belt ahead of the Telstra Premiership season kicking off in Las Vegas.
The pre-season challenge format and points system will remain consistent with 2023, which means there will be $100,000 in prize money up for grabs, split evenly between clubs and players. Teams will once again earn bonus points for tries, line breaks and offloads while playing squads will be capped at 28 players per week.
Starting with a showdown between the Bulldogs and Storm at Belmore Sports Ground on Thursday, February 15, the opening round of the Pre-Season Challenge also features mouth-watering clashes between the Cowboys and Broncos in Mackay and Roosters and Sea Eagles in Gosford.
The annual All Stars showpiece will be staged at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville on Friday, February 16 featuring the very best Indigenous and Maori talent the game has to offer.
The following day the Dragons and Rabbitohs renew a time honoured rivalry in the Charity Shield at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
Round two of the Pre-Season Challenge features a double-header at PointsBet Stadium with old foes the Rabbitohs and Roosters squaring off before the Sharks take on the Bulldogs.
Defending champs Manly host the Broncos at 4 Pines Park while games will also be played in Mudgee, Queanbeyan and Ipswich as fans across New South Wales and Queensland get the first opportunity to see their club’s new recruits in action as anticipation builds for the start of the NRL season.
NRL Pre-Season Challenge 2024
* All times listed in AEDT.
Thursday, February 15
7.00pm – Bulldogs v Storm at Belmore Sports Ground
Saturday, February 17
1.45pm – Knights v Sharks at Industree Group Stadium
3.45pm – Roosters v Sea Eagles at Industree Group Stadium
5.55pm – Eels v Raiders at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
8.05pm – Rabbitohs v Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Sunday, February 18
2.00pm – Warriors v Wests Tigers at Apollo Projects Stadium, Christchurch
4.00pm – Cowboys v Broncos at BB Print Stadium, Mackay
6.15pm – Dolphins v Titans at Sunshine Coast Stadium
Friday, February 23
6.00pm – Rabbitohs v Roosters at PointsBet Stadium
8.00pm – Sharks v Bulldogs at PointsBet Stadium
Saturday, February 24
1.45pm – Storm v Knights at Venue TBC
3.45pm – Warriors v Dolphins at Go Media Stadium
5.55pm – Sea Eagles v Broncos at 4 Pines Park
8.05pm – Dragons v Wests Tigers at Glen Willow Stadium, Mudgee
Sunday, February 25
3.00pm – Raiders v Cowboys at Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan
5.00pm – Titans v Eels at North Ipswich Reserve, Ipswich