2009 World Club Challenge

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2009 (2009) World Club Challenge  ()
2009 World Club Challenge logo
1 2 Total
LEE Rhinoscolours.svg 4 16 20
MAN Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 12 16 28
Date 1 March 2009
Stadium Elland Road
Location Leeds, England
Man of the Match Anthony Watmough, Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg
Referee Jason Robinson (Australia)
Attendance 32,569
Broadcast partners
Broadcasters United Kingdom Sky Sports
Australia Fox Sports (Live) Nine Network (Delay)
Commentators Eddie Hemmings, Mike Stephenson, Brian Noble
 < 2008

The 2009 World Club Challenge was contested by Super League XIII champions, Leeds Rhinos, competing in their second consecutive World Club Challenge, and 2008 NRL Premiers, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.[1] For the first time since 2003, the Australian champions defeated their English counterparts.[2]

The match featured 28 penalties and two punch-ups which resulted in rival Props Josh Perry (Manly) and Jamie Peacock (Leeds) sin-binned in the 20th minute. with Manly's three quick tries in the first seven minutes after the break proving decisive. Leeds scored three tries of their own towards the end of the match, but by then it was too late.[3]


Leeds Rhinos[edit]

Further information: 2008 Super League Grand Final

Leeds Rhinos qualified through being the 2008 Super League champions, defeating St Helens 24 - 16 in the Grand Final. The Yorkshire club had already completed their first three rounds of Super League XIV before contesting the world Club Challenge, with wins in all of them.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles[edit]

Further information: 2008 NRL Grand Final

The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles clinched the 2008 National Rugby League Premiership with a 40-0 thrashing of the Melbourne Storm - an Australian grand final record, earning them a place in the World Club Challenge. Five months later they travelled to England, while other NRL clubs were starting pre-season trial matches against one another.

The week before the World Club Challenge the Sea Eagles had a warm-up match against London's Super League club, Harlequins RL, winning 34-26.[4] Manly played the first half against the Harlequins with their bench players, and their regular starters only had the second half to work out any cobwebs as most had not played since either the Grand Final or the 2008 World Cup which had concluded four months before the WCC. It was the first time a visiting team had played a warm-up match before the WCC.


2009 World Club Challenge Teams
Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos[1] Positions Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly Warringah Sea Eagles[1]
3. Lee Smith Fullback 1. Brett Stewart
2. Scott Donald Winger 2. Michael Robertson
18. Carl Ablett Centre 3. Jamie Lyon
4. Keith Senior Centre 4. Steve Matai
5. Ryan Hall Winger 5. David Williams
6. Danny McGuire Stand Off / Five-eighth 6. Chris Bailey
7. Rob Burrow Scrum Half / Halfback 7. Matt Orford (c)
8. Kylie Leuluai Prop 8. Jason King
14. Matt Diskin Hooker 9. Matt Ballin
10. Jamie Peacock Prop 10. Josh Perry
11. Jamie Jones-Buchanan 2nd Row 11. Anthony Watmough
17. Ian Kirke 2nd Row 12. Glenn Hall
13. Kevin Sinfield (c) Loose Forward / Lock 13. Glenn Stewart
12. Ali Lauitiiti Interchange 14. Heath L'Estrange
16. Ryan Bailey Interchange 15. Adam Cuthbertson
19. Luke Burgess Interchange 16. George Rose
23. Kallum Watkins Interchange 18. Shane Rodney
Brian McClennan Coach Des Hasler

Match details[edit]

The last time the Sea Eagles had played in England was in the 1987 World Club Challenge, a game their coach Des Hasler played in. They lost to Wigan that night and were hoping to win their first World Club title this time around. Leeds had played in the Challenge twice before, defeating their Australian counterparts on both occasions. After their victory over the Melbourne Storm the previous year, the Rhinos were hoping to become the first team in history to win consecutive titles.

1 March 2009
18:00 UTC+0
Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 20 – 28 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Tries: Jones-Buchanan
Goals: Sinfield (2/4)
(Report) Tries: B Stewart (2)
Watmough (2)

Goals: Orford (4/6)
Elland Road, Leeds, United Kingdom
Attendance: 32,569
Referee/s: Jason Robinson[1]
Man of the Match: Anthony Watmough

The first 20 minutes of the match were played from end to end in a very even contest. A legal tackle by Manly's Anthony Watmough in the 16th minute on Leeds' pint sized scrum-half Rob Burrow knocked him out and he played no further part in the match.[5] In the 20th minute a brawl erupted, front rowers Jamie Peacock and Josh Perry the main combatants.[6] Both players were sent to the sin-bin[7] and a penalty awarded to Manly. Sea Eagles captain Matt Orford opted to attack Leeds' line and Brett Stewart broke through the defence from dummy-half to score the first points just after a quarter of the match had passed.[8] Orford converted the try so Manly had a 6 nil lead. Seven minutes later the Sea Eagles were again down in the Rhinos' half when Orford put a short ball onto the chest of a flying Anthony Watmough from 30 metres out to race through the defence and score (video replays suggested that Orford's pass to Watmough might have gone forward, but it was ruled ok by referee Jason Robinson). Orford's conversion pushed the Australian club's lead out to 12 nil. Manly could have put the game beyond doubt seven minutes before half-time when Watmough charged onto a pass and broke through flimsy defence before popping a soft pass to a flying Brett Stewart who somehow managed to drop the ball with a try under the posts seemingly seconds away. In the 37th minute Leeds were just into Manly's half when they kicked ahead, regathered and got the ball to Danny McGuire who made it over the line but had the ball stripped from his grasp by Matt Orford in a one-on-one tackle before he could ground it. Jamie Jones-Buchanan was there to press the ball to the turf however, so the try was given by the video referee. Kevin Sinfield missed the relatively easy conversion, so Leeds were down 4-12. The score did not change during the remaining few minutes of the half.

Leeds started the 2nd half making a small break down the left hand side in the first minute after Manly hooker Heath L'Estrange had given away a penalty. In the resulting play, McGuire got the ball to Hall who passed inside to Keith Senior who had the ball stripped on-on-one by Jamie Lyon. The 2nd minute of play saw Manly make a break from the half way line with Adam Cuthbertson getting the ball out to Michael Robertson left wing. Leeds winger (and former Manly player from 2003-05) Scott Donald attempted to tackle Robertson but he managed to get a pass away. Leeds centre Carl Ablett failed to gather the loose ball and managed to knock the ball straight into the waiting hands of Brett Stewart. The Manly fullback picked the ball up 12m out from the line and with no one to beat scored his second try.[9] Orford missed the conversion, and the score was 16-4 in favour of the visiting team. The Sea Eagles scored again one minute later as they were returning the ball from the kick-off. Michael Robertson made another break down the right wing and centre kicked ahead for Brett Stewart who got a perfect bounce and came close to scoring before being brought down by Ryan Hall. This then gave Watmough the chance to score his second try from first receiver before Leeds' defence could regather. Orford kicked the extras so Manly had gotten away to a 22-4 lead. When returning the following kick-off as well the Sea Eagles scored again, this time Shane Rodney made a break 25m from his own line and got to the Leeds 40m line before finding L'Estrange in support who in turn popped a pass to Steve Matai who had an easy 20m run to the line (even had Matai been caught, he still had an un-marked Robertson in support). Manly had scored their 3rd try in only 6 minutes and 45 seconds of the second half which had taken the game away from Leeds and silenced the pro Rhinos crowd. Orford missed the conversion so Manly lead was 26-4.

In the 64th minute, after Leeds got repeat sets of six down near Manly's line, they moved the ball from one side of the field out to the other, a quick no-look pass from Ali Lautiiti sending Keith Senior over the line. Sinfield kicked the extras so the Rhinos were down 16 points with fifteen minutes remaining.[10] After 71 and a half minutes, 30 metres out from Manly's line, Lautiiti made a run from dummy-half down the left side and threw another deft no-look pass to Ryan Hall who scored in the corner. Sinfield's kick from the sideline bounced through off one of the posts, so Leeds were 10 points down with seven minutes of the match remaining. Another fight broke out in the 75th minute and again Leeds were penalised. The Sea Eagles opted to take the kick for goal, which Orford did successfully. This made their lead 12 points with only 3 minutes remaining. Leeds got one more try in the final minute of the game, Keith Senior making a break from 60 metres out down the left wing before finding Danny McGuire in support to score in the corner just seconds before the final hooter. Sinfield's sideline conversion attempt was missed, so the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles had won the World Club Challenge for the first time, by a score of 28-20. Second-rower Anthony Watmough was named man-of-the-match.[11]


  • Manly became the first Australian team in six years to win the World Club Challenge, since the Sydney Roosters defeated St Helens RLFC in 2003. They were also only the fourth side from Australia to have won a final on British soil in the history of the event.
  • Manly won their first World Club Challenge at their second attempt having lost the 1987 World Club Challenge to Wigan 8-2.
  • After failing to score a try in the 1987 WCC, the opening try of the game by Fullback Brett Stewart was Manly's first ever try in a World Cub Challenge.
  • Failure to defend their World Club Challenge title from 2008 meant the Leeds Rhinos' first loss in the 2009 competitive season. They would have been the first club to have gained two consecutive titles had they won.
  • Prop forward Josh Perry became the second Manly player to be sent from the field in a WCC when he was sin-binned for 10 minutes after a fight with opposing prop Jamie Peacock who was also binned for 10. Manly Second-rower "Rambo" Ronny Gibbs had been sent off for a high tackle on Wigan's Joe Lydon in the 1987 WCC.
  • After Brett Stewart was suspended for four games by the NRL due to an indiscretion at Manly's 2009 NRL season launch, the World Club Champions went 0-4 to start their premiership defence. It was not until Stewart returned and scored 3 tries at Brookvale Oval against the Wests Tigers in Round 5 that Manly won their first game of the season.
  • Leeds would win the next two games of their Super League season against Warrington and Wigan before suffering their first domestic loss of the season away to St Helens.
  • The Attendance of 32,569 was the largest for both clubs in 2009. Manly's largest NRL attendance was 27,527 for a Round 9 away clash with the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. Leeds largest attendance was 19,997 for the Round 26 match against St Helens at Headingley (Note: Leeds also played in front of 30,122 on Day 2 of the Round 12 Magic Weekend fixture featuring 7 other clubs on the day)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d BBC Sport (2009-03-01). "Leeds 20-28 Manly". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  2. ^ AFP (2009-03-02). "Manly win World Club Challenge". Roar. Archived from the original on 2009-09-08. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  3. ^ AFP (2009-03-02). "Manly downs Leeds in World Club Challenge". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 2009-11-18. [dead link]
  4. ^ Walter, Brad; AAP (2009-02-24). "Sea Eagles Stoop to conquer". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Digital). p. 31. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  5. ^ Irvine, Christopher (2009-03-02). "Superb Manly give a glimpse of another world". The Times (UK: timesonline.co.uk). Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  6. ^ Hadfield, Dave (2009-03-02). "Patched-up Leeds lose world title". The Independent (UK: independent.co.uk). Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  7. ^ Wald, Tom (14 February 2012). "Leeds ready for WCC fireworks: coach". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Robinson, Ben (2009-03-02). "Manly crowned World Champions". leagueunlimited.com. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  9. ^ Ritchie, Joel (2009-03-03). "Berkeley boys lap up victory over Leeds". Illawarra Mercury (Fairfax Digital). p. 52. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  10. ^ Agence France-Presse (2009-03-02). "Manly Sea Eagles beat Leeds in world club challenge". The Australian (news.com.au). Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  11. ^ Stott, Julie (2009-03-02). "Leeds lose world title". The Sun (UK: News Group Newspapers Ltd.). Retrieved 2010-02-06.