1976 World Club Challenge
|1976Unofficial World Club Challenge|
|Date||29 June 1976|
|Stadium||Sydney Cricket Ground|
|Location||Moore Park, New South Wales, Australia|
The 1976 World Club Challenge was an unofficial trial of what would later become the World Club Challenge concept, with the 1975 NSWRFL season's premiers, Eastern Suburbs hosting the 1975–76 Northern Rugby Football League season's Premiership and Challenge Cup winners St. Helens. The one-off challenge match was played on the 29th of June, right in the middle of the 1976 NSWRFL season, at the Sydney Cricket Ground before a crowd of 26,856.
The next game of its kind would not be played until 1987.
The game was the first of its type, and was the last to be played in Australia until 1994.
Eastern Suburbs Roosters
Like the Roosters, Saints were the two time reigning English champions, having won the titles in 1974-75 and 1975-76. Saints were coached by former Great Britain captain Eric Ashton and captained by Welsh dual rugby international Kel Coslett.
|Eastern Suburbs||Positions||St Helens|
|Russell Fairfax||Fullback||Geoff Pimblett|
|Ian Schubert||Wing||Les Jones|
|Mark Harris||Centre||Eddie Cunningham|
|John Brass||Centre||Derek Noonan|
|Bill Mullins||Wing||Roy Mathias|
|Trevor Barnes||Five-eighth||Billy Benyon|
|Kevin Stevens||Halfback||Kenneth Gwilliam|
|Kel Jones||Prop||John Mantle|
|Elwyn Walters||Hooker||Tony Karalius|
|Royce Ayliffe||Prop||Kel Coslett (c)|
|Ian Mackay||Second-row||Eric Chisnall|
|Arthur Beetson (c)||Second-row||George Nicholls|
|Barry Reilly||Lock||David Hull|
|Robert Laurie||Interchange||Peter Glynn|
|John Mayes||Interchange||Frank Wilson|
|Grant Hedger||Interchange||Jeff Heaton|
|Greg Townsend||Interchange||Mel James|
|Jack Gibson||Coach||Eric Ashton|
29 June 1976
|Eastern Suburbs||25 – 2||St Helens|
Goals: Brass 5
Goals: Pimblett 1
Ironically, after winning the 1974 and 1975 Sydney premierships, Eastern Suburbs would not win another until 2002, while St Helens would go on to win a third English premiership in succession in 1976–77.
The next time Easts, now known as the Sydney Roosters, would play in a World Club Challenge was in 2003 where they would again face St Helens, the 2002 Super League champions at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, England. The result would be no different though as the Roosters defeated the Saints 38-0 in front of 19,807 fans.