Super League chief wants NRL buy in to World Club Challenge

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone wants to persuade NRL counterpart Todd Greenberg to demonstrate a greater commitment to the World Club Challenge.

The annual clash of the champions from either hemisphere is being held in England for the 19th time in 21 events, when St Helens welcome NRL premiers Sydney Roosters.

That is a situation that Elstone is keen to change, and wants the NRL to buy in to the competition to strengthen it.

He said: “Right now, it is Super League that entirely funds it. Essentially the other 11 Super League clubs put their hands in their pockets to make this work.

“We’ve gone back to the NRL on two occasions and said, whether it be through sponsorship or through support from yourselves, it would really help make this work better commercially.

“We haven’t been able to secure that to date but what we have to do is keep delivering a great game in a great stadium with a full house and telling the world that this is something that is great and should be funded on more equal and fair basis.”

Although Australian clubs hold a narrow 11-9 advantage in terms of wins, the timing of the game suits Super League sides more – three weeks in to their season and three weeks prior to the NRL kick-off.

The Roosters could become only the third team to win it four times, and are out to defend the title they won against Wigan last year.

Elstone added: “I think it’s really important Super League regularly benchmarks its quality against what is probably the best competition in the world.

“The perennial challenge is scheduling. When I came into the job 18 months ago, you immediately thought there’s got to be a better time to play this.

“But pushing it back to later in the season when the Aussies have kicked off is probably a non-starter and the only other option is end of season.

“Then you’re backing into the international calendar and promoting and staging a game when you don’t know who’s going to be in it so there are real practical difficulties about what would appear to the fans to be a very logical end-of-season date.

“So where we are now seems to be the best possible compromise.”

5 Comments

  1. No they won’t. The NRL see it as pre season game nothing else and will not fund it.
    SL CEO doesn’t seem to understand the Australian thinking.

  2. Problem is the standard in the NRL is way higher than Super League so they don’t take it that serious. And recently they have still won most of the games

  3. Why not at the end of the season? After the respective Grand Finals, say a five team tournament, the four finalists, plus one extra from the country holding the trophy. Then use that complicated five team draw to give us the World Club Finalists.

    That would have done momentum, come at the end of the season. Maybe take the games to expansion areas, or as a reward, say PNG, Tonga, Canada, France. Something to energise the event.

  4. Australia does not give a toss about anything other than the NRL, and doesn’t care about the International development of the game, and even less about ESL

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