Solly would be delighted to see Crowe at World Club Challenge

Super League general manager Blake Solly believes Russell Crowe’s presence can only add to the glamour of the forthcoming World Club Challenge series.

Crowe, who helped fund South Sydney Rabbitohs’ rise to power over the last decade, which culminated in their winning the NRL Grand Final last year, has hinted that he will be in the North of England for the three games.

The Rabbitohs face Super League champions St Helens at Langtree Park on Sunday February 22. That game is the third of the series, with Warrington opening proceedings with a game against St George-Illawarra Dragons on the previous Friday.

Wigan will face Brisbane Broncos in the second game of the series, at the DW Stadium on February 21.

Solly is optimisitic that Hollywood star Crowe will be in attendance, and that the concept of the World Club Challenge can continue to grow over the coming years.

“He’s Tweeted that he wants to come,” Solly told reporters.

“It’d be great to see him there. For him and Jamie Packer, the co-owners, it must be very satisfying to have taken the club from where it was winning the NRL Premiership and then playing into the World Club Challenge.

“I know (ex-Souths CEO) Shane Richardson and Russell are huge believers in the competition.

“They feel international club rugby has huge potential and were instrumental for us in convincing the NRL that it needed to expand.

“We always believed it would be successful but the early signs are it will be really successful and something we can build on over the next decade.

“Tickets are selling really fast and we know from the experience of the World Cup that once you post one sell-out it’s like a domino effect.

“We’re pretty confident the other games will sell really well and we’ll see packed crowds watching the best of Super League take on the best of the NRL in the series.”

Solly, himself an Australian, is also in no doubt as to how seriously the NRL clubs will be taking the games against Super League opposition.

NRL clubs are taking it very seriously as the pride of their league is on the line,” he added.

“I know enough about Australian sport to know that no one wants to come over here and lose a trophy.

“The whole series will be fantastic to decide which is the strongest competition.”

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