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St Helens written off as 50/1 outsiders for trip down under

Less than a fortnight from the Super League season getting underway but the reigning champions are on the other side of the world as they aim to bring home the Club World Challenge.

An English side hasn’t managed to secure the title on Australian soil since Wigan in 1994, almost 30 years ago.

To replicate that Saints will have to beat back-to-back NRL champions Penrith Panthers and experts and bookmakers alike do not fancy their chances.

As well as the match against Penrith, scheduled for February 19th, the Red Vee will also play another game one week earlier against St George Illawarra Dragons.

That game counts as the first of St Helens’ two fixtures in the NRL’s ‘Pre-Season Challenge’ where teams compete for a prize of $100,000.

In effect it’s the NRL’s way of making pre-season games competitive with points awarded for wins and certain elements of play such as tries, offloads and line breaks.

Each of the 17 NRL teams, plus St Helens, will play two fixtures with the most points securing the pre-season crown and the $100,000.

Bookmakers in England have priced up the competition and it’s safe to say they don’t fancy the Super League champions at all, pricing them as rank outsiders at 50/1

For context the NRL’s newest side, the Dolphins, who were formed only this off-season and are yet to ever play a game together have been priced at 40/1.

Granted St Helens do have the unenviable task of facing Penrith who are in many people’s opinions’ one of the greatest sides to ever play, but it’s still a damning statement on Paul Wellens’ team and their chances.

St George, the other side that Saints face, placed 10th in the NRL last season however it’s clear that the focus for St Helens isn’t the pre-season challenge or the $100,000 bonus. They’re headed down under for one reason only and that’s the greatness of lifting becoming Club World Champions on Australian soil.

Betting prices had been taken from Sky Bet on their Pre-Season Challenge markets.

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