Super League chief remains upbeat

Alex Walmsley is tackled by Sydney Roosters' Kane Evans (left) and Dylan Napa (right), during the World Club Series match at Langtree Park
Alex Walmsley is tackled by Sydney Roosters' Kane Evans (left) and Dylan Napa (right), during the World Club Series match at Langtree Park

SUPER League general manager Blake Solly admits a second successive 3-0 defeat by Australian teams in the Dacia World Club Series is a setback for the British game but insists it remains a worthwhile event.

Since the one-off World Club Challenge was expanded to a six-team tournament just over 12 months ago, the NRL clubs have won all six meetings, the last four by margins of 26 points or more.

Injury-hit Leeds produced a spirited first-half performance against NRL premiers North Queensland Cowboys in the climax to the latest three-day event, the 2016 World Club Challenge at Headingley on Sunday night, but capitulated after the break, conceding 34 points without reply to go down 38-4.

With Saints and Wigan proving even less of a match for Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos, it amounted to an aggregate score of 118-28 in favour of the NRL trio, although Solly believes that flattered the Australian clubs.

“I think we’re probably better than what we showed on the pitch,” he said. “Each of the three clubs had some mitigating factors - injuries and probably not the best run of form - but all three certainly tried their best.

“In State of Origin, Queensland have won nine of the last 10 series and the last game by 52-6, but no one, quite rightly, says Origin should be binned. It’s still a great competition. Everyone just says New South Wales just have to get better and that’s what we think in Super League.

“Honestly, yes it is a bit of a setback. It would have been great to be far more competitive over the 240 minutes of rugby but it’s been about creating a commercially compelling competition and giving our players the opportunity to benchmark themselves against the NRL’s best and we’ve done that.”