Five things we learned after Melbourne’s World Club Challenge win over Leeds

The Aussie production line is still in rude health

Not content with providing the game with some of the greatest players in rugby league history, it seems Australia’s production line is still churning out future stars. Questions were asked about how Melbourne would cope without Cooper Cronk following his move to the Roosters. The answer? Young protege Brodie Croft. The half-back was magnificent all night – but particularly in the first half, when he set two tries up and scored another of his own.

One set of rules for all is imperative

The confusion between whether the game was being officiated by one referee or two had very little – if any – impact on the final scoreline: but it was a bizarre storyline to be dominating events leading up to the game. The sport’s authorities have an easy option to make sure that never happens again – bring all forms of the game in line with each other and have one set of rules for every competition across the globe. It’s a simple fix.

The gap is still as big as we feared – but how important is it?

The Australian dominance in the World Club Challenge continues, with this the fifth victory in six outings of the event. However, while British rugby league has a particular fondness for stressing how wide the gap is between Super League and the NRL, is it as important as people make out? International rugby is where the gap truly matters, you could argue – and England proved last year that the gap in that particular field is closing. A tough night for Leeds and Super League – but Melbourne were utterly magnificent.

Jack Walker will have caught the attention of many in Australia

Among a string of committed and gutsy performances for Leeds, young fullback Jack Walker again stood out. Still a novice at senior level, Walker was one of Leeds’ best players yet again before injury ended his evening prematurely. He attracted praise from Phil Gould on commentary – who himself has a position of seniority within an NRL club. Will the Aussies have taken a keen interest in Walker’s exploits moving forward?

Leeds head home with their heads held high

The final scoreline may have been an ugly one, but Leeds should take pride in their efforts against the all-conquering NRL champions. Injuries both before and during the game cost them dearly, but their commitment and enthusiasm was never in question, with the Rhinos battling right until the final hooter. They should fly back to England with their heads held high.