LIKE many people, I’m looking forward to seeing Wigan host Penrith in the World Club Challenge at the DW Stadium on Saturday, February 24.
I’m sure that Wigan will come close to selling out the game and Penrith will present them with a very stern challenge. And I’m certain the Panthers are still smarting from their 13-12 defeat by St Helens in February this year.
But as we see the NRL heading to Las Vegas to play a double-header of matches at Allegiant Stadium on March 2, I can’t help thinking that it would have been good to have the World Club Challenge as one of those games.
Obviously there would have been logistical problems in organising that game in Vegas.
But symbolically it would have been the right place to play it, given that Las Vegas is used to holding many world title events, particularly in boxing and UFC.
It would have raised the profile of Rugby League as a world game, not just an Australian one.
And it would surely have generated massive interest in both Britain and Australia, much more than will be generated when the game is hosted by Wigan.
If our sport is ever to reach a wider audience in our own country, we need some innovative ideas. And taking the World Club Challenge to Vegas could surely be one of them.
Given that we now have IMG working with Rugby League in this country, surely this is an exercise that they could help promote, given their worldwide representation, with branches in most of the major cities in the United States.
It’s certainly about time they did something like that to show that their partnership with Rugby League can be productive.