The reason why Blake Austin believes St Helens can stun Penrith Panthers

Leeds Rhinos faced off against St Helens in the Grand Final and if they’d have won it could be them facing off against Penrith Panthers this Saturday.

Instead they are looking ahead to the Super League opener against Warrington Wolves on Thursday.

Leeds star and former Penrith Panthers man Blake Austin though has still given his verdict on the World Club Challenge.

He is impressed by what he has seen from the Panthers in recent years after they were “a sleeping giant” in the past.

“Panthers were a sleeping giant down under. When I was there, success was few and far between,” he said on Leeds’ YouTube channel.

“They have the junior base, I think it’s the strongest and biggest junior base in the world. Full credit to them for getting that in order and that has allowed them to be a success.

“When you’re bringing kids, it’s salary cap management and thinks like that, it is really impressive. I think it is best for the people of western Sydney.

“Rugby league is like a religion down there, they deserve a good team. A Penrith-Parramatta Grand Final is just an indication of what rugby is doing out in the west.

“I can’t see why Penrith wouldn’t be there pushing again this year.”

He does however believe that the Saints could stun the Panthers because of these two reasons:

“I think Saints can come give them a good run for their money. They have a few old heads against a few young kids and traditionally the English clubs take this game a little more seriously than the Australian ones.

“They will let everyone know down there that there are some really good footy teams over here. It would be good to watch.

“St Helens are going nowhere. People have been waiting for them to fall off a cliff but they’re still there.

“They deserve to be there and they deserve to be challenging in this game.”

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