The World Club Challenge may well go ahead in 2022, but only if St Helens agree to Penrith Panthers’ request.
That request is to travel to Australia to play Penrith at the BlueBet Stadium after the Panthers’ chief executive Brian Fletcher ruled out a traditional trip to the UK to take on Super League’s finest.
Melbourne Storm an St Helens couldn’t play the fixture in 2021 due to the ongoing challenges provided by the Covid-19 pandemic, and this could be the only solution to see a World Club Challenge played in 2022, too.
Leeds 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.
And, Fletcher is keen for another visit to go ahead.
“We haven’t heard anything about the game nor discussed it with anybody, but to be fair you wouldn’t be going over there anyway at the moment because of the COVID risk,” Fletcher the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If St Helens want to come out here and play us, it would be great. We’d pack the stadium out, for sure. Australia’s vaccination rate would also be more than 95 per cent by that stage.
“If St Helens want to come out here and play us, it would be great. We’d pack the stadium out, for sure. Australia’s vaccination rate would also be more than 95 per cent by that stage.”
It’s a fixture that usually takes place in the UK because Super League clubs finance Australian clubs coming over, but for Super League clubs travelling to Australia, that isn’t the case.
So there is a COVID risk for them coming here, but not if we go there where their COVID is so out of control they are isolating COVID victims forcibly? How does that make sense? The risk to players on the pitch is the same. Flying is the risky part. So what they are really saying is that it is okay for a UK club to risk it’s players but not Aus? Are they going to refund all the money super league have given them to fund the trip? Are they going to pay for Saints trip to them? The idea has always been for them to come to us to generate gates and a spectacle we can all watch live in the UK.