Sydney Roosters making World Club Challenge clash against St Helens high priority

Roosters players celebrate victory in the 2019 NRL Grand Final
Roosters players celebrate victory in the 2019 NRL Grand Final

Sydney Roosters will again turn their World Club Challenge showdown against St Helens next month into a focal point of their Premiership defence by combining a stint at Barcelona FC's world-class facilities with a fund-raising effort close to their hearts


Head coach Trent Robinson plans to name a full-strength 17 for the February 22 clash at the Totally Wicked Stadium, prioritising the UK fixture over the Perth Nines a week earlier.

As with last year's trip to Wigan Warriors via France, the Roosters see the venture as more than just a game against the Super League champions.

Their 2019 visit to Villers-Bretonneux and World War I battlefields, including a spine-tingling haka at a New Zealand war memorial, proved a significant touchstone in the Tricolours successful bid for back-to-back NRL titles.

Next month Robinson's side will travel to Liverpool via France and Spain, where they will be granted rare behind the scenes access to the operations of European football giants Barcelona and their Camp Nou facilities.

The Roosters will be guests of Barcelona at their February 15 game against Getafe FC, following on from last year when Roosters staff visited several English Premier League outfits including back-to-back champions Manchester City.

"The way that we conducted the trip last year, it's a footy trip but it's also a life experience for the players as well," chief executive officer Joe Kelly told NRL.com.

"There's the footy aspect of it and that's always going to be front and centre, but the learning and things like the tour of the Somme last year, that balance, you see it transcend through the playing group.''

Robinson concedes it can take the best part of 10 days for players to truly recover from the travel. but the off-field aspects of the trip make it more than worthwhile in his eyes.

His squad will also visit former Rooster and ex-Saints forward Mose Masoe, who is recovering from a career-ending spinal injury suffered playing for Hull KR.

''They really take something out of those other experiences, it ends up adding to their footy,'' said Robinson.