Boots ‘n’ All talk to Gary Hetherington about the proposed expansion to the World Club Challenge

Last Updated: 06/08/14 8:03pm

Sydney Roosters celebrate victory with the World Club Challenge trophy after defeating Wigan Warriors

Over the last 18 months a steering committee have been trying to create a three game Super League vs. NRL series and that dream looks to be nearing fruition.

“We really hope this is going to happen, “ said Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington.

“I think it is fair to say that the Super League Clubs have been pushing for this for the last seven to eight years. Gradually the support has been growing from the NRL clubs who have become more enthusiasts over the years.

“We are still waiting to hear news from Australia abut I think it is fair to say that all the signs are positive and we are hoping that there will be a positive announcement in the not too distant future.

“We have a successful World Club Challenge where the champions of the NRL take on the champions of Super League. That will continue but that game would be part of a three-game series. So two other leading teams of the NRL would play against two leading Super League teams, so it would be Super League versus the NRL.”

“I think our game needs global exposure and international competition amongst our leading clubs is something that would be very exciting for the fans, the players and would be a significant step forward for our game.”

Great incentive

The finer details are yet to be ironed out but there is already talk about who the other two teams would be, and Hetherington suggest that it could be the Grand Final runners-up and the league leaders if they don’t make the Grand Final – a concept that excites John Kear.

“This would be fantastic, it would be a series where we test our strength against theirs,” said Kear on Boots ‘n’ All.

“We say that  our Super League is getting stronger, our players are getting better and we are developing more players – lets really test ourselves against the Australians.

The other thing I really like about it is that it would make the league leaders shield a great incentive for all the clubs in Super League.”

Terry O’Connor agrees: “ You look at the Super League competition at the moment – the top five sides are all in with a chance of finishing top. So even if you don’t make it to the Grand Final there is still some reward.”