Ex-NRL and Super League player explains why St Helens defeated Penrith

Matt Adamson is a man who loves the game of rugby league on both sides of the planet.

He spent nearly a decade at the Penrith Panthers but the club of his heart is now the Leeds Rhinos.

Thus, he is best placed to give a balanced view of the World Club Challenge between the best of Australia and the best of Britain.

“I thought it was great, great for rugby league, great for St Helens and I love the passion of the blokes on the bench and the owner. The way he ran on the field, it meant so much to him and that’s what’s beautiful about the British game,” Adamson said.

He also diagnosed why he felt the Saints got the better of the Panthers:

“I thought Paul Wellens’ game plan was quite clever, he really frustrated them and they didn’t get any fluency in their play. Penrith had the loss of Api Koroisau at dummy-half and those milliseconds when you’re tying to get fluency in your play, especially early in the year, can be hindered. But Paul’s tactics were great, they did a phenomenal job coming up in their face and not allowing them to play that natural out of the back style game.

“You talk about championing the British game but seeing all those fans on the hill, I was quite emotional. It was just brilliant, I love their passion and the way they support their team.”

When asked if thinks would have been different in the Panthers had played their first teamers in the trial game the week before, Adamson said:

“You can’t bring that into it to be honest, that’s just how the cookie crumbles. I’ve watched every trial game at the start of the year just to monitor and different teams play certain players in week one or week two.

“I think with Penrith, I wouldn’t say complacency, but Penrith probably felt that their team going out on the weekend could have got the job done. They didn’t and fair play to Isaah Yeo and management at Penrith for coming out and saying the better team won.”

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