Wigan Warriors and Penrith Panthers coaches react to World Club Challenge rules

Aaron Bower
Matt Peet

Matt Peet with the Super League trophy after Wigan Warriors' 2023 Grand Final triumph over Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford - Alamy

Both Matt Peet and Ivan Cleary have seemingly expressed their satisfaction that Saturday’s World Club Challenge will be played without the new tightening of laws concerning head contact – with Peet insisting he hopes all the talk post-match is of the game itself, rather than the decisions.

Love Rugby League revealed earlier on Tuesday that the rules which dominated the opening round of the new Super League season will be relaxed on Saturday evening at the DW Stadium. NRL champions Penrith met with senior RFL officials on Tuesday, where it was confirmed to them the recent changes would not be in place.

The match will be played under full international rules – with no captain’s challenge in place despite it being operational during the 2022 Rugby League World Cup. And Cleary, who is aiming to steer his Penrith side to victory after last year’s dramatic defeat to St Helens on home soil, said he was satisfied with what he heard from the meeting on Tuesday, and confident the game will be a spectacle.

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He said: “I’ve heard a bit of noise after the first round over here about a couple of things, adjustments to how the game has been officiated. But I was happy from what I heard. I don’t think it’s that big a deal, hopefully it’ll be refereed like most big games where the players dictate who wins and loses. I feel confident that’s going to happen.”

His Wigan counterpart Peet, who is aiming to secure every domestic trophy available inside little over two years as head coach with victory on Saturday night, agreed with Cleary and said: “We’re happy. I just want to see the teams compete and hopefully the talk isn’t about any decisions after the game.”

Peet confirmed that prop Luke Thompson will be unavailable after failing a head assessment against Castleford on Saturday – but Kruise Leeming will be available, and will play on despite an ongoing ankle injury.

“Other than Luke Thompson, we’re all good,” Peet said. “It will be the same [21-man] squad. Kruise will play. His ankle is sore, but he’ll be all right.”

Peet confirmed young prop Harvie Hill will take Thompson’s place in the 17 to face the Panthers.

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