World Club Challenge

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World Club Challenge
Current season or competition:
2014 World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge logo
Sport Rugby league football
Instituted 1989
Inaugural season 1976
Number of teams 2
Region International (RFL[1])
World Champions Sydney Roosters (2014)
Broadcast partner Nine Network (Australia)
Sky Sports (United Kingdom)
Related competitions Super League
National Rugby League

The World Club Challenge is an annual rugby league football match played between the champion clubs of the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League. The first such match was played in 1976 but did not become a regular fixture until the late 1980s. It was also punctuated in the 1990s by the Super League war but has been held every year since 2000. Sydney Roosters are the current champions, having defeated Wigan 36–14 in 2014. As the World club challenge is a match between the premiers of the National Rugby League and Super League, it is possible for teams from New Zealand and France to win it as well as England and Australia, however, to date only English and Australian sides have competed in and won the World Club Challenge.

History[edit]

The competition began unofficially in 1976 as a match between Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and RFL Premiership winners St Helens. In 1987, another unofficial match took place when Wigan chairman Maurice Lindsay invited Manly-Warringah to Central Park.[2]

The first official World Club Challenge was between Widnes and Canberra in 1989. Three further matches, each involving Wigan, were staged in the early 1990s with the 1994 match being staged in Australia. This would be the last time for 20 years that this would happen.

If only we could see a genuine contest between Wigan and Brisbane – a World Club final. Alas, it will never happen. Oh sure, a game might be arranged, but logistics dictate that one side would be out of season, rusty or tired, and away from home.

The Sydney Morning Herald, September 1992[3]

After the 1994 match logistical issues meant the concept was put on hiatus until it was revived in 1997. With the outbreak of Australia's Super League War in 1995, the World Club Challenge was not staged again until 1997 when the competition was restructured to include twenty-two clubs from the Australian and European Super Leagues. With six rounds in two hemispheres and $1,000,000 prize money, the competition was prohibitively expensive to stage and reportedly lost over $5,000,000. This, coupled with the poor ratings and attendances both in Australia and Europe, led to the competition being postponed for two seasons.

Returning to a one-off match between the League champions in 1998, a World Club Challenge as a show-piece fixture at Ellis Park in Johannesburg was mooted.[4] However this didn't eventuate.

When it was resurrected in 2000, the World Club Challenge was once more played between the winners of the premierships in Australasia and Europe. During this period it was contested annually in the United Kingdom in late January or early February, before the commencement National Rugby League season and the Super League season. Over this period Super League teams dominated the tournament winning 7 of 9 matches, and this led, Australian commentators to often deride the competition, citing the British refusal to play the game outside of the UK, the effects of jet lag on Australian teams who often arrive in England only a couple of days before the game and wintry conditions as reasons for Australian teams' poor performances. In addition, the games were being played at the beginning of the new season instead of at the end of the previous season, so the rosters of both sides had normally changed considerably, therefore the teams that took the field were not the ones that won the respective premierships. For these reasons, it was viewed as merely a pre-season warm up game by most Australasian teams and fans.[5][6]

Since the 2009 tournament, its popularity has increased with stronger crowds and also with Australian teams taking the concept more seriously, Australian teams were arriving earlier to acclimatize the players and often organising warm up games with other super league sides and this created a much stronger showing and improved results. This also led to an increased movement to having the tournament staged in Australia. During this period, the matches were fixtured in late February, still before the commencement National Rugby League season but in the early stages of the new Super League season.

In mid-2012, a working party was established to look into the feasibility of conducting the match in either a neutral or Australian venue and also looking into the possibility of expanding the tournament.[7] In February 2013, the changes to the tournament were gaining momentum with the NRL and Super League agreeing to begin alternating the World Club Challenge tournament between UK and Australia. These changes were finally confirmed in November 2013, with both parties agreeing that the 2014 World Club Challenge would be the first held in Australia since 1994.[8] In addition, commencing in 2015, the tournament will also be expanded to six teams. Details of exactly how and when this tournament will be staged and what format it will take are yet to be decided.[9] The World Club Challenge return to Australia in 2014 was a success with a solid crowd numbers of just over 31,000, with the Sydney Roosters defeating the Wigan Warriors 36-14. During the game, Sydney's Michael Jennings became the first player to score a hat trick of tries in a World Club Challenge.

List of participants[edit]

  • Excludes pool games from 1997

Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos
Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders
Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Hunter colours.svg Hunter Mariners
Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm
Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights
Panthers colours.svg Penrith Panthers
St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra Dragons
Saintscolours.svg St Helens Saints
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney / Eastern Suburbs Roosters
Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers
Widnes colours.svg Widnes Vikings
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors

Results[edit]

Year Date Winner Score Runner-up Venue Crowd Winning Country Winning Competition
1976 29 June Eastern Suburbs 25–2 St Helens Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 26,865 Australia NSWRL
1987 7 October Wigan 8–2 Manly-Warringah Central Park, Wigan 36,895 England RFL
1989 4 October Widnes 30–18 Canberra Old Trafford, Manchester 30,786 England RFL
1991 2 October Wigan 21–4 Penrith Anfield, Liverpool 20,152 England RFL
1992 31 October Brisbane 22–8 Wigan Central Park, Wigan 17,460 Australia NSWRL
1994 1 June Wigan 20–14 Brisbane ANZ Stadium, Brisbane 54,220 England RFL
1997a[›] 17 October Brisbane 36–12 Hunter Ericsson Stadium, Auckland 12,000 Australia SL Australia
2000 22 January Melbourne 44–6 St Helens JJB Stadium, Wigan 13,394 Australia NRL
2001 26 January St Helens 20–18 Brisbane Reebok Stadium, Bolton 16,041 England SL
2002 25 January Bradford 41–26 Newcastle Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield 21,113 England SL
2003 14 February Sydney 38–0 St Helens Reebok Stadium, Bolton 19,807 Australia NRL
2004 13 February Bradford 22–4 Penrith Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield 18,962 England SL
2005 4 February Leeds 39–32 Canterbury-Bankstown Elland Road, Leeds 37,028 England SL
2006 3 February Bradford 30–10 Wests Tigers Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield 19,207 England SL
2007 23 February St Helens 18–14 Brisbane Reebok Stadium, Bolton 23,247 England SL
2008 29 February Leeds 11–4 Melbourne Elland Road, Leeds 33,204 England SL
2009 1 March Manly-Warringah 28–20 Leeds Elland Road, Leeds 32,569 Australia NRL
2010b[›] 28 February Melbourne 18–10 Leeds Elland Road, Leeds 27,697 Australia NRL
2011 27 February St George Illawarra 21–15 Wigan DW Stadium, Wigan 24,268 Australia NRL
2012 17 February Leeds 26-12 Manly-Warringah Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds 21,062 England SL
2013 22 February Melbourne 18-14 Leeds Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds 20,400 Australia NRL
2014 22 February Sydney 36-14 Wigan Allianz Stadium, Sydney 31,515 Australia NRL
Notes

^ a: This is the result from the grand final of a 22-team 1997 World Club Championship.
^ b: The NRL stripped Melbourne Storm as a result of their breach of the salary cap.
[10]

Statistics and records[edit]

NOTE: These statistics do NOT include any matches from the 1997 World Club Championship other than the final.

Statistics Source:[11][12]

Titles won[edit]

By country

Wins Country
12 England England
10 Australia Australia

By club

Team Titles Runners-up Win %
Bradford 3 (2002, 2004, 2006) 100%
Sydney / Eastern Suburbs 3 (1976, 2003, 2014) 100%
Leeds 3 (2005, 2008, 2012) 3 (2009, 2010, 2013) 50%
Wigan 3 (1987, 1991, 1994) 3 (1992, 2011, 2014) 50%
Brisbane 2 (1992, 1997) 3 (1994, 2001, 2007) 40%
St Helens 2 (2001, 2007) 3 (1976, 2000, 2003) 40%
Melbourne 2 (2000, 2010, 2013) 1 (2008) 66%
Manly-Warringah 1 (2009) 2 (1987, 2012) 33%
Widnes 1 (1989) 100%
St George Illawarra 1 (2011) - 100%
Penrith 2 (1991, 2004) 0%
Canterbury-Bankstown 1 (2005) 0%
Canberra 1 (1989) 0%
Hunter 1 (1997) 0%
Newcastle 1 (2002) 0%
Wests Tigers 1 (2006) 0%

Match records[edit]

Greatest winning margin

Points Score Champions Runners-up Year
38 38–0 Sydney St. Helens 2003
38 44–6 Melbourne St. Helens 2000

Most points in a game by a winning side

Points Score Champions Runners-Up Year
44 44–6 Melbourne St. Helens 2000

Most points in a game by a losing side

Points Score Champions Runners-Up Year
32 39–32 Leeds Canterbury-Bankstown 2005

Highest scoring match

Points Score Champions Runners-Up Year
71 39–32 Leeds Canterbury-Bankstown 2005

Lowest scoring match

Points Score Champions Runners-Up Year
10 8–2 Wigan Manly-Warringah 1987

Individual records[edit]

Scoring[edit]

Total Points

Points Name (club/s) Appearances Tries Goals Drop Goals
36 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds) 6 0 17 2
24 Frano Botica (Wigan) 3 0 12 0
23 Paul Deacon (Bradford) 2 0 11 1
22 Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney) 1 1 9 0

Most Points in a Game

Points Name (club/s) Tries Goals Opponenet Date
22 Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney) 1 9 St. Helens 14 February 2003

Total Tries (2 or more)

Tries Name (club/s)
4 Ryan Hall (Leeds)
3 Marcus Bai (Melbourne / Bradford)
Michael Hancock (Brisbane)
Michael Jennings (Sydney)
Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds)
Danny McGuire (Leeds)
Darren Smith (Brisbane)
Brett Stewart (Manly-Warringah)
2 George Carmont (Wigan)
Josh Charnley (Wigan)
Hazem El Masri (Canterbury-Bankstown)
Stuart Fielden (Bradford)
Ade Gardner (St Helens)
Scott Hill (Melbourne)
Andrew Johns (Newcastle)
Jamahl Lolesi (Canterbury-Bankstown, Wests Tigers)
Brett Morris (St George Illawarra)
Martin Offiah (Widnes)
Julian O'Neill (Brisbane)
Robbie Paul (Bradford)
Robbie Ross (Melbourne)
Paul Sculthorpe (St Helens)
Lesley Vainikolo (Bradford)
Anthony Watmough (Manly-Warringah)
Michael Withers (Bradford)
Nick Zisti (Hunter)

Most Tries in a Game

Tries Name (club/s) Opponent Date
3 Michael Jennings (Sydney) Wigan 22 February 2014

Total Goals

Goals Name (club/s)
17 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds)
12 Frano Botica (Wigan)
11 Paul Deacon (Bradford / Wigan)
9 Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney)
8 Cameron Smith (Melbourne)

Drop goals

Goals Name (club/s)
2 Sinfield (Leeds)
1 Deacon (Bradford)
Long (St Helens)
Lydon (Wigan)
Sculthorpe (St Helens)
Soward (St George Illawarra)
Tomkins (Wigan)

Ground records[edit]

Venue City Number of Games Highest Crowd Lowest Crowd
Anfield Liverpool 1 20,152 20,152
ANZ Stadium Brisbane 1 54,220 54,220
Allianz Stadium Sydney 1 31,515 31,515
Central Park Wigan 2 36,895 17,460
Elland Road Leeds 4 37,208 27,697
Alfred McAlpine Stadium / Galpharm Stadium Huddersfield 3 21,113 18,962
Headingley Stadium Leeds 2 21,062 20,400
JJB Stadium / DW Stadium Wigan 2 24,268 13,394
Ericsson Stadium Auckland 1 12,000 12,000
Old Trafford Manchester 1 30,786 30,786
Reebok Stadium Bolton 3 23,207 16,041
Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney 1 26,865 26,865

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sky Sports (2009-03-02). "RFL cool on bigger Challenge". BSkyB. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Andy (3 October 2010). "Wigan prepare to slay Dragons after crushing St Helens in Grand Final". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Townsend, David (27 September 1992). "Just a Touch of the Old Dart". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Media). p. 47. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1998-09-23). "League proposes show in S Africa". The Independent (UK: independent.co.uk). Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  5. ^ Phil Gould (2006-02-05). "Humbling highlights Tigers' reliance on Benji". SMH. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  6. ^ Langdon, Mark (2005-02-04). "Deadly Danny can get St Helens off to a flyer". The Racing Post (London, England: MGN LTD). Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  7. ^ rleague.com (2012-05-20). "World Club Challenge Expansion Working Party Group". rleague.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  8. ^ nrl.com (2013-11-18). "World Club Challenge confirmed for Aust". nrl.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  9. ^ Steve Mascord (2013-02-14). "World Club Challenge to be held in Australia". Canberra Times. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  10. ^ NRL.com (2011-05-11). "Final Report: Storm Salary Cap investigation". NRL. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  11. ^ "World Club Challenge Statistics". Rugby League Project. 2013-05-16. 
  12. ^ "1997 World Club Challenge Final Statistics". Rugby League Project. 2013-05-16. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]