ST Helens is set to turn green and gold - by hosting the Australian national side for next year’s rugby league World Cup.
Saints’ Langtree Park stadium will host the group clash between the Aussies and Fiji.
The tournament - which takes place in October and November next year - is expected to be one of the most widely watched in the sport’s history.
Games will takes place across rugby league’s heartland as well as moving into emerging areas such as Wales and Ireland.
Organisers picked St Helens as the Australian side’s official home from home, with a raft of official Antipodean-themed events planned to co-incide with the World Cup.
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus said it was fitting the town had been picked as Australia’s adopted home.
He said: “We are delighted to be hosting Australia and Fiji at Langtree Park.
“We have long been associated with Australia and some of the country’s greatest legends have taken to the field in the Red Vee.
“I have no doubt we will adopt Australia as our own and the fans will flock down to the magnificent stadium to see the best in the world take on each other.”
Council leader Marie Rimmer added: “Australia v Fiji will be a tremendous occasion and will put St Helens firmly in the world spotlight.
“Within the borough I see the World Cup becoming a real catalyst that not only helps to boost involvement in rugby league at school and grassroots levels, but provides a focal point for a whole range of community activities too.”
WHO do you rank as the greatest Aussie ever to grace the famous red vee shirt?
* Mal Meninga - the block-busting centre only played for one season but made a trophy-winning impact.
* Jamie Lyon - another game-changing centre, the man from Wee Wah was a deserving Man of Steel winner in 2006.
* David Fairleigh - the legendary prop forward brought a wealth of experience to St Helens for the 2001 season.