St Helens to be gifted golden opportunity to be crowned best in the world in Penrith Panthers’ backyard as ex-Huddersfield Giants man set to play

The one game everyone wants to see is the clash between the Super League Champions St Helens and the NRL Champions Penrith Panthers.

This is because, not only are they the champions of their respective competitions, but they are also the team to define the last three or more seasons in rugby league in their country.

St Helens have finished top of the league in three of the last five seasons, they won the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 2021 against Castleford and have won the Super League Grand Final a record four times in a row against four different opponents in the shape of Salford Red Devils, Wigan Warriors, Catalans Dragons and the Leeds Rhinos.

Meanwhile, Penrith have played in the last three NRL Grand Finals. After losing to Melbourne Storm in 2020, they defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2021 prior to claiming a second consecutive title with a win over Parramatta in 2022 with what could be described as the most dominant title defence in NRL history.

So, it would a treat to see the two meet in a reboot of the World Club Challenge which hasn’t happened since St Helens met Sydney Roosters in 2020.

Yesterday, reports down under from The Age, said that the game would happen and take place in Penrith to prevent their players from having to come to Britain for the World Cup, leave and then return again prior to the start of the NRL.

This means Saints would follow in the footsteps of Wigan in 2014 and Leeds in 2018. The game would also act as Penrith’s second trial match prior to the defence of their NRL crown.

However, reports suggest that St Helens will be gifted a golden opportunity to be crowned the best in the world with it being expected that many of Penrith’s stars won’t play assuming the likes of Australia and Samoa go as far as expected in the World Cup.

Their extended break would mean they wouldn’t return to training till the end of January meaning they could very well not feature with Panthers boss Brian Fletcher even saying “It will also give some of our younger boys the chance to have a run against a quality side.”

Thus, the likelihood is that Saints wouldn’t have to face off against the likes of Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai in the halves but in fact former Huddersfield Giants halfback Jack Cogger who joined Penrith yesterday as a back up half.

Cogger and his young teammates are no doubt full of quality, but facing a Penrith side without some of their stars would present Paul Wellens and St Helens with a huge opportunity to be crowned the best in the world.

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