Gary Hetherington has confirmed that plans for the World Club Challenge are alive
The Leeds Rhinos chief executive claims he has held tentative talks with Melbourne Storm’s hierarchy and the two clubs have pencilled in a date of February 16th for the annual match.
Melbourne’s apparent reluctance to fulfil the fixture in England had left the concept’s short-term future in doubt. The event has been an annual event on the calendar since 2000 and has normally been held in England.
However, new plans would see the Rhinos head Down Under during the season. Should the game be played on the proposed date, the Super League champions would travel to Australia following their round two Super League clash with Hull Kingston Rovers.
The Rhinos don’t have a game the following week, as the bottom four Super League clubs who featured in the Qualifiers play each other as they catch up a game due to their early involvement in the Challenge Cup.
That would allow Leeds to play Melbourne that week, which would tie in with Wigan and Hull FC’s double-header with South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons.
“While I was in Melbourne last week I had a very positive meeting with Bart Campbell and Dave Donaghy at the Storm,” Hetherington told Fairfax Media.
“We had lined up Elland Road to host the game next year because Headingley is undergoing redevelopment work.
“It’s disappointing that can’t happen but we now see this as the ultimate challenge.”