The reigning Betfred Super League champions, St Helens, will travel to Australia in February 2023 to face NRL champions, Penrith Panthers, for the World Club Challenge in what will be new head coach, Paul Wellens’ first competitive fixture.
The match will take place at the home of the Panthers, the BlueBet Stadium on Saturday 18 February, 2023 (6pm KO local/ 7am UK).
In what will be a first for fans in the UK, the World Club Challenge will be broadcast free-to-air by Channel 4 and will be part of double header by the broadcaster that day with the Betfred Super League clash between Hull KR and Wigan Warriors live at 1pm.
The fixture will also be shown on Sky Sports.
This will mark the 8th time St Helens have played in the World Club Challenge, with two victories to their name, coming in 2001 and 2007, both against Brisbane Broncos.
Penrith Panthers have previously appeared twice in the World Club Challenge, being beaten by Wigan Warriors (1991) and also being beaten by Bradford Bulls (2004).
Due to St Helens travelling to Australia in early February, their Betfred Super League Round 1 fixture, due to be against Huddersfield Giants, has been postponed until a date later in the season. Details of which will be confirmed in due course.
Now St Helens star and key to their recent success Morgan Knowles has called for other Super League fans, even Wigan, to get behind them to prove Super League isn’t “a second tier competition”:
“Super League gets put down as a second tier competition with what they think of us, so hopefully people can get behind us and not be so strict on supporting their own team,” said Knowles to the Sportsman.
“Back us to put on a good show – for Saints, Super League and for England. It might be a tough ask to say that in Wigan though, it might not go down too well.
“It is exciting, a big competition and something we really want to win. This opportunity has been taken away from us the last couple of years and it is even more important to get out there and get the job done.”
This came as he said the World Cup provides him with added motivation.
“The World Cup defeat is probably something you don’t really get over,” Knowles adds.
“It will always be something you look back on and be disappointed. It was an opportunity missed and was frustrating how it was. We are good enough to do better and just didn’t. That’s hard, tough to take, but the season rolls around quick and having this World Club Challenge helps.”