Long year ahead for top stars

Australia celebrate their victory in the  Rugby League World Cup Final at Old Trafford in 2013
Australia celebrate their victory in the Rugby League World Cup Final at Old Trafford in 2013

Super League’s England internationals will be facing their longest season yet after organisers confirmed the 2017 World Cup will run into December.

The tournament, taking place in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, is expected to kick off in Melbourne on October 27 and culminate in the final in Brisbane on December 2, by which time Super League clubs are normally back in pre-season training.

Super League kicked off on February 4 this year and is unlikely to start any later in 2017 because of the World Cup at the end of it.

The draw for the 2017 tournament will be made simultaneously at events in Brisbane and Auckland on Tuesday, July 19.

RLWC2017 chief executive Michael Brown and chairman George Peponis will be joined by coaches Mal Meninga (Australia), Stephen Kearney (New Zealand) and Michael Marum (PNG) and captains Cameron Smith, Jesse Bromwich and David Mead at the Australia launch at Suncorp Stadium.

Rugby League International Federation chief executive David Collier and RLWC2017 general manager (NZ operations) Andrea Nelson will be joined at the Auckland city-centre event by Kiwi internationals Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Dean Whare and former Kangaroo Steve Price.

The 15th World Cup will see 14 nations play 28 games over five weeks in three countries.