World Club Challenge set for return as venue and date for potential titanic St Helens-Penrith clash revealed

THE World Club Challenge is set to make a return in 2023, according to reports Down Under.

The concept had been scrapped for 2021 and 2022 following Covid-19 protocols, but both St Helens and the Penrith Panthers look to be nearing a solution for 2023.

However, the fixture is unlikely to be played in the UK, but rather at the home of the NRL premiers – BlueBet Stadium – with the game set to be televised.

Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher has spoken of his excitement about the potential clash.

“It would have been impossible for us to go over there, but talk of them coming out here is excellent,” Fletcher told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We’ve only got word today that our second trial, instead of being against another NRL side, the NRL are investigating how they can bring St Helens to Sydney.

“The plan will be to play the game a week before the start of the NRL competition.

“We’d love for it to happen. It will be a great game for our fans out at Penrith, it will be great for the area, it’s something different, and it will also give some of our younger boys the chance to have a run against a quality side.”

The last time the World Club Challenge was played was back in 2020 when the Sydney Roosters defeated St Helens at the start of 2020.

However, Leeds Rhinos were the last English side to travel to Australia for the World Club Challenge fixture, taking on the Melbourne Storm back in 2018.

The concept itself has only been held in Sydney one other time during the NRL era, when the Roosters hosted the Wigan Warriors at Allianz Stadium in 2014.

Both Saints and Penrith have been in leagues of their own in their respective competitions in recent seasons with the former winning four Grand Finals in a row and the latter two.