NRL premiers Melbourne Storm have got their way with the World Club Challenge, hosting Super League champions Leeds in February.

The match was in doubt with the Storm refusing to travel to the UK, citing the heavy toll on their players from the current Rugby League World Cup as well as a testimonial match locked in for their captain Cameron Smith against Johnathan Thurston’s Cowboys in Brisbane on February 23.

The Rhinos have agreed to play their first WCC outside of the UK, taking on the Storm at AAMI Park on February 16 – only the third time the decider will have been played in Australia.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said his Kangaroos representatives would only have a few weeks’ preparation but he still expected to field a strong side.

They will definitely be missing newly-signed Sydney Rooster Cooper Cronk, as well as Jordan McLean (Cowboys) and Tohu Harris (Warriors).

“It’s not the ideal time of the year but it’s hard to find the ideal time of the year,” Bellamy said on Tuesday.

“We will certainly do our best to put our best team out there and I’m sure Leeds will do the same and it will be a carrot for our players to really put in in the pre-season to make sure we’re close to our best.

“It will be a different team but we take the mentality that there’s some people gone so there’s some positions up for grabs.

“If you want it you need to work hard for it and hopefully there will be a few young blokes who will do that.”

He said veterans Smith and Test fullback Billy Slater would want to be involved.

“At their stage in career they love playing in big games and this is a really big game,” Bellamy said.

“Their preparation will be hindered and we will take that into consideration but they don’t take too much to get ready these days, they’ve done that many pre-seasons.”

The two teams have met three times previously, with Melbourne triumphant in 2010 and 2013, although they had the 2010 title stripped as part of their salary cap-cheating penalties.

Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

The Crowd Says (11)

  • November 14th 2017 @ 2:03pm
    Brendon said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

    I never understood why it was always played in England anyway? Shouldn’t it be once there, once here sort of thing, or go to the country of the winning team for the year prior?

    • November 14th 2017 @ 3:00pm
      Peter Phelps said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

      It was always played in England because we Aussies have always displayed very little enthusiasm for it. In the UK, they really promote it and treat the comp with the respect it deserves unlike the press / some fans here who treat the thing as a pre-season friendly.

      I also had to laugh at this “The match was in doubt with the Storm refusing to travel to the UK, citing the heavy toll on their players from the current Rugby League World Cup”

      Many Leeds players are playing in the World Cup, their season starts before ours does, runs longer than ours does, has more matches than ours does and finishes later than our season. Add to that the Challenge Cup rounds which are often overlayed on the regular season. Playing 3 games in a week is not uncommon in the ESL

      ……. and we call them whinging poms.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 9:39pm
        Sleiman Azizi said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

        Australia’s attitude to the World Club Series is pathetic.

        Embarrassing is another adjective that comes to mind.

        • Roar Guru

          November 15th 2017 @ 10:20am
 said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          Allow me to give you another Adjective!
          No team has traveled to the UK and played in the Club Challenge and came back and won the Premiership this century.

          • Roar Guru

            November 15th 2017 @ 10:29am
            Sleiman Azizi said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

            How about this stat?

            No team that has won the Grand Final has come back the following year to win it this century…

            Come now Scott, it’s tough enough to even make a Grand Final, let alone win one.

            Winning two in a row?!?!

        • November 15th 2017 @ 1:34pm
          Chook said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          No its not Sleiman. On this issue you are somewhat of an extremist. Time to watch cricket. Enjoy

          • Roar Guru

            November 15th 2017 @ 2:29pm
            Sleiman Azizi said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

            The opposite view – honing insularity – is also extreme.

            Go figure.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 6:45am
        Brendon said | November 15th 2017 @ 6:45am | ! Report

        Its hard to display enthusiasm for a game that starts at 4:30 in the morning though. In reality, no one but die hard fans are going to care, and even then, it’s only really going to be die hard fans of the teams who are playing. Getting any support is going to be difficult (we can’t even get behind thursday and Friday 6pm games after all….)

        I have to agree with the whole player burn out thing, its a bit of a crock. The NBA players play a shorter game, but play 82 games in an 8 month period, not counting all star and playoffs, sometimes on consecutive days. Why cant NRL players handle a 6 week turn around?

  • Roar Rookie

    November 14th 2017 @ 8:27pm
    Squidward said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

    GEE Cronulla could’ve done with this this season at the SFS like they were suppose rather than getting pumped in freezing Wigan

  • Roar Guru

    November 14th 2017 @ 11:11pm
    Edward Kelly said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:11pm | ! Report

    Feb 16 2018 in the calendar. Perfect. A bit more serious than regular trial matches. Melbourne February possibly cold and wet or hot and humid, real lottery. Leeds players playing somewhat jet lagged, hungover and sun burnt. Bliss.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 7:45am
      Peter Phelps said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report


Have Your Say

If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

, , ,