Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith has revealed that the prospect of playing a World Club Series, or even a Super League game, in Australia appeals to him – and says they would like to be part of any such plans moving forward.
The World Club Series has a slightly pivotal feel about it this year, with only two games compared to the usual three owing to a lack of interest from some NRL sides about making the 12,000-mile journey to play in the tournament.
That has led to suggestions that the competition should head Down Under – or even elsewhere overseas – and Smith, speaking in the build-up to Warrington’s game against Brisbane on Saturday, said it’s something he would love to do: and something he thinks would work.
“We’d like to go there as Super League champions and do it for the big title, but we’d do it anyway,” he said.
“It might be another way of doing it and putting on a Super League entertainment package for them if we played a game of Super League while we were there getting ready for it.
“I think there’d be interest too if it was promoted the right way and played in the right cities. There’d be an audience.”
It emerged earlier this week that tentative talks took place to see if Warrington and Wigan could play a Super League game in Australia prior to a World Club Series based Down Under, and Smith again said it was something he would have been open to doing.
He said: “It would have appealed to me. It was proposed to see if there was interest and we’ve done training camps in Australia before so we would have been happy to do that again and play a Super League game against Wigan over there.
“It would have been great exposure but I think it got left too late. There were a few things flying around at the time in relation to camps and stuff like that so it ended up not happening. There were other priorities which needed to be addressed.
And Smith described the prospect of taking on the NRL in their own backyard as the “pinnacle”.
“We would have been up for it – that would be the ultimate test, to be going for the world championship tag and doing it in Australia. That’s the pinnacle isn’t it? Playing in it has been great but doing it in Australian soil is even tougher.”
However, Smith is simply glad to see the concept still alive, saying he is hopeful that Saturday night will be one that is forever etched onto the minds of Warrington fans.
“It’s good for the English public to see teams like Brisbane here,” he said.
“In years gone by you would be able to watch touring Australian sides play your club and you can still get some element of that now with the World Club Series. Young kids will remember in 10, 15 or 20 years time that Warrington played Brisbane Broncos on a rip-roaring Saturday night. Those nights are etched in your memory.”