Penrith happy to host St Helens Down Under in World Club Challenge
Aussie champions Penrith Panthers are willing to play St Helens in the World Club Challenge, providing the fixture is staged Down Under.
Chief executive Brian Fletcher told the Sydney Morning Herald that while a one-off match in England is out of the question, they were not adverse to staging the winner-takes-all match at the Blue Bet Stadium.
It has been six weeks since the Panthers triumphed over the Rabbitohs and five weeks since the Saints beat the Catalans Dragons and there has been no official discussions about the event.
Last season's clash, which was set to be Melbourne v St Helens at the start of 2021 was not played due to Covid-19, and the year before the Roosters beat the Saints at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Fletcher told the Herald that the Panthers would happily host St Helens, after the NRL said there were no plans in place to facilitate the match-up.
“We haven’t heard anything about the game nor discussed it with anybody, but to be fair you wouldn’t be going over there anyway at the moment because of the Covid risk,” he said.
“If St Helens want to come out here and play us, it would be great. We’d pack the stadium out, for sure. Australia’s vaccination rate would also be more than 95 per cent by that stage.
“It’s an important game and you’d love to see it played.”
The World Club Challenge is a huge drawcard because NRL clubs receive a hefty sum to travel abroad, receiving anywhere between $350,000-$500,000 which is mostly used on accommodation and flights.