Super League coaches back plans to expand World Club Challenge
Last Updated: February 17, 2013 1:56pm
Shaun Wane: Wigan Warriors' head coach backs World Club Challenge plans
Super League and NRL clubs are expected to press ahead with plans to play next year's World Club Challenge in Australia and expand the competition to six teams.
The annual challenge match will be held in England for the 13th consecutive year when Leeds and Melbourne Storm meet at Headingley on Friday night, but next year it is set to be held down under while in 2015 it could be enlarged into a Test series.
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington believes the idea could become a 'valuable TV commodity' and it now appears to be gathering momentum with a number of coaches backing plans.
"It's all meant to integrate with the international calendar," Hetherington said. "If there's an international tournament in one hemisphere, then the World Club Challenge will be in the other.
"Down the track, we see this becoming a valuable TV commodity and hopefully a vehicle for promoting rugby league in new markets, such as Dubai or Hong Kong."
Australia last hosted the challenge in 1994 when Wigan beat Brisbane at Lang Park and current Warriors coach Shaun Wane, who played in the 1987 clash with Manly at Central Park, would relish the chance to take his team Down Under.
"I'd love to take my team over there and play them in their own backyard but so would everybody else," Wane said. "It gives you a bit more incentive towards the end of the year."
Warrington coach Tony Smith, who guided Leeds to victory over Canterbury Bulldogs in 2005, echoed Wane's sentiment.
"I've always said it would be great to do it on their side," he said. "It's certainly an advantage to be on home soil.
"I think the ultimate is to go to the other country and defeat them on their own turf. It would be much tougher to do but it would be much more satisfying.
"It would be nice to even be in that position. I only had the chance to do it once with Leeds."