Yates' view: Is Super League really closing the gap with the NRL?

World Club winners the Sydney Roosters
World Club winners the Sydney Roosters

So near yet so far. How many times have those five words been written at the end of a World Club Challenge in the past few years?


Countless I would suggest and it was the same old story on Sunday night when Wigan Warriors bowed to the superiority of the Sydney Roosters at the DW Stadium.

Since the first Challenge in 1976 when Eastern Suburbs (now renamed Sydney Roosters) defeated Saints 25-2, there have been a further 26 meetings and the Australian clubs have a slight edge in the number of victories under their belts.

But what worries me is English teams have only won two of the last 11 showdowns and that speaks for itself.

Some people believe the gap between Super League and the NRL is closing all the time but that doesn't ring true when one looks at the results in the past decade.

British clubs' most successful period came between 2001 and 2008 when our representatives were crowned champions seven times, but that's now just part of history and consigned to the record books.

What counts is the future and while there are signs on the international front, in particular, that the gap is definitely closing following the Test series win over New Zealand, at domestic level this has to be questioned.

Maybe the influx of English players to the NRL will help but only time will tell.