World Club Challenge In Doubt

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10 October 2017

The 2018 World Club Series is looking doubtful with the two NRL sides due to take part arranging a testimonial match against each other on the same weekend, according to RL website

Melbourne Storm will face runners-up North Queensland in Brisbane on Friday 23 February next year to honour respective club legends Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston.

Super League champions Leeds and League Leaders’ Shield winners Castleford may have to travel to save the concept.

Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington remains confident their match against the Storm will happen and was expecting more information this week. With the ongoing redevelopments at Headingley Stadium, Leeds want to play the WCC at Elland Road having faced Melbourne there in both 2008 and 2013.

Australian clubs are paid £60,000 from Super League for taking part and an extra £25,000 for winning, however the length of the trip has put them off competing. With the World Cup not finishing until December and a busy pre-season schedule already planned, the NRL sides are reportedly showing little desire to take part.

If they can’t reach agreement, it will be the first time since 1999 that there has not been a World Club Challenge. But it will not see the end of Super League sides facing NRL opposition, with Hull and Wigan travelling there in February to play each other in a Super League match in Wollongong, before an exhibition double header against St George and South Sydney respectively at ANZ

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