St Helens star Jonny Lomax backs Wigan Warriors for World Club Challenge: ‘I think they’ll go well’

John Davidson
Jonny Lomax St Helens Alamy

Jonny Lomax in action for St Helens in the 2023 World Club Challenge - Alamy

Jonny Lomax has tipped Wigan Warriors to perform strongly in the World Club Challenge next month against Penrith Panthers and says all of Super League should get behind the defending champions.

Lomax was part of the St Helens side that knocked off Penrith in Sydney in golden point in 2023 to win the World Club Challenge.

After winning the NRL Grand Final against Brisbane Broncos last year, their third title in a row, the Panthers will head to the DW Stadium in February to take on Wigan and attempt to be crowned club champions of the world for the first time.

The Warriors won the double with the League Leaders’ Shield and victory at Old Trafford last season, and the half-back is confident Matty Peet’s men can trouble the Australian outfit.

Lomax is putting club rivalry aside and says the whole of the UK should be backing the Cherry and Whites in the northern hemisphere versus southern hemisphere clash.

“I think they’ll go well,” he told Love Rugby League.

“There’s no doubt Wigan are a great team. They’ve recruited really well as well. I’ve got no doubt that’s going to be a tough game.

“I’m sure we might not have had the majority of Super League’s backing (last year) but you’ve got to see it as in some ways it is Super League vs the NRL. We’ve got to back it and want our competition to do people proud.

“Basically, if we’ve don’t keep putting it at the forefront and back it and try and do the competition proud as a collective, who else is going to big us up really?”

Jonny Lomax: ‘I don’t think Super League probably valued it as much as they possibly should and I’d like to hope that now with what happened last year the NRL will value it a bit more’

St Helens became only the second-ever English team to win the World Club Challenge on Australian soil, with Lewis Dodd’s extra-time drop-goal sealing the famous result at BlueBet Stadium.

Lomax hopes the event is valued more going forward, by all parties, and becomes a permanent fixture between the NRL and Super League.

Penrith had one or two players missing, and some good players missing,” he said.

“But at the end of the day we all stepped over that white line with the same goal of they want to win, they want to win everything that’s at stake and that’s the way both teams took to the field that day.

“Again, for ourselves, the Grand Finals are fantastic. You win them, three months off, you go and celebrate, you enjoy yourselves. You spend time with family and everything else. Fantastic.

“You probably get a good chance to sit back with the lads and go ‘how good is this’. Challenge Cup and the Grand Final are a similar thing, you get in the mindset of you’re going again and playing again next week, that’s the mindset we were in.

“The World Club Challenge was similar again. It was a big celebration that night but then rolling into Cas next week, probably we didn’t value it as much as we probably should have.

“I don’t think Super League probably valued it as much as they possibly should and I’d like to hope that now with what happened last year the NRL will value it a bit more.”

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