Leeds Rhinos' Kevin Sinfield talks about Friday's World Club Challenge v the Storm
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 18/02/13 3:20pm
Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield has told Sky Sports how he would love for the World Club Challenge to be staged Down Under.
The last 12 matches between the Super League and NRL champions have all been played in England following the reintroduction of the competition in 2000.
Sinfield has fond memories of Wigan's famous triumph over the all-conquering Brisbane Broncos in 1994 at the ANZ Stadium and is dreaming of Leeds' current crop of stars following in their footsteps.
Brisbane boasted the likes of Wendell Sailor, Steve Renouf, who later joined Wigan, Kevin Walters and Allan Langer with Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah, Shaun Edwards, Denis Betts and Phil Clarke in caretaker Graeme West's side.
As improbable as success might be in Australia or New Zealand Sinfield fancies a crack at the NRL in their own back yard in an attempt to immortalise their current dynasty.
When asked whether Sinfield would prefer to play at Headingley or Elland Road on Friday, he replied: "My preference would be Melbourne. Honestly it would.
"I'd love nothing more than to have had two weeks and maybe a friendly out there and use it as a bit of a training camp. Over here my preference would be Headingley. It's our home, it's where we play every week, we've got a brand new pitch and there is nothing like a full house at Headingley.
"I just think it's the ultimate challenge for us to go and win in Australia and we'd love that chance. I think the last English team to be given that option was back in '94 when Wigan beat Brisbane. They still talk about it now.
"I just think it's the ultimate challenge for us to go and win in Australia and we'd love that chance. I think the last English team to be given that option was back in '94 when Wigan beat Brisbane. They still talk about it now."
"When you listen to some of the old players who were part of that team, they remember that game like it was yesterday. I think that's the ultimate challenge and unfortunately as a competition our winners haven't had the opportunity to do that."
Leeds beat Manly at Headingley last season although NRL teams won the previous three meetings with the Rhinos the losing team twice and Wigan falling to St George Illawarra Dragons in 2011.
The World Club Challenge is treated with a certain degree of apathy in Australia and New Zealand, however, Sinfield insists the champions are gunning for this year's opponents Melbourne Storm.
"I just think when there is an opportunity to win silverware, certainly an opportunity to become World Champion at anything you've got to do your very, very best to take the chance you've got," he said.
"I think it is huge for the club, it brings a lot of prestige and as players it is certainly something you want to do and achieve. I think once you've finished playing, to be able to look back at your career and say you've been a World Champion it's a really nice feat, so we will be doing everything possible to try and get the victory.
Slater moving with the times
"I've been fortunate enough to (win three World Club Challenges) and I wouldn't mind another one so we'll be doing everything we can on Friday. We're coming up against a great team and we've had some battles with them over the years and they've got some fantastic players in there so it will be a tough game for us."
Sinfield will be playing in his sixth World Club Challenge on Friday and the 32-year-old has fond memories of his three triumphs, including scoring a drop goal in Leeds' thrilling 39-32 success over the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2005.
"Obviously the three that we've won bring different moments. I got a drop goal against Canterbury and Melbourne," he concluded.
"Possibly the Melbourne game, I think just because of the intensity of the game and the conditions that evening. It was wet and windy; it was horrible but very enjoyable."