Waterhouse says top Super League sides could compete in NRL

James Gordon

Warrington back-rower Trent Waterhouse says the top teams in Super League could stand toe-to-toe with their NRL counterparts.

Waterhouse, 32, a former Kangaroos international, moved to the UK from Penrith ahead of the 2012 season, and won the Challenge Cup and appeared in the Super League Grand Final in his first year.

An expanded World Club Challenge is on the agenda once again, with Leeds preparing to face Melbourne in this year’s competition on Friday, and Waterhouse believes the top clubs in both leagues are on par in terms of quality.

He said: “When you play against the top teams, it’s probably on par the quality of footy over here, but there’s a bit of a difference between the top half and the bottom half of Super League.

“It’s a bit more even in the NRL, a few teams over here struggle a bit, whereas games over there are close every single game because all the teams are strong.

When asked if he thought the Super League teams could compete in the NRL, he added: “I think so, definitely. It’s probably harder to say until you have a competition.

“I’d love to see it happen. We held our own against Souths (in a pre-season friendly) last year, and although they had a few missing, we had a few out as well.”

Since the World Club Challenge returned in 2000, it has been won eight times by English clubs, with Australian clubs claiming five victories, although all 13 games have been held in the UK.

Waterhouse, who made 186 appearances for the Panthers between 2002 and 2011, also played five State of Origin matches for New South Wales. He has been impressed with the set-up at Warrington since his arrival.

He added: “It’s up there (with NRL clubs) definitely. They’ve got the right mix of bringing their juniors through and great bunch of experienced blokes here too. Off the field, they’ve got the right balance here and it’s a credit to the coaching staff, the people at the club and Simon (Moran) as well.

“The club is in great stead for years to come with the youth development. There are some outstanding juniors at the club, and that means they’ll be a force for years to come.”