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The World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
is an annually held rugby league competition between the winners of the Australian NRL
NRL
and the European Super League. The first such match was played in 1976 but did not become a regular fixture until the late 1980s. It was also punctuated in the 1990s by the Super League
Super League
war but has been held every year since 2000. The Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm
are the current champions, having defeated the Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos
38–4 in 2018. Between 2015 and 2017, the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
was the championship match for the World Club Series which began at the beginning of 2015. The World Club Series includes two other games, these games are exhibition matches before the main game, the World Club Challenge. As the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
is a match between the premiers of the NRL and the Super League
Super League
Champions, it has been possible for teams from New Zealand, France and Wales to win it as well as England
England
and Australia, however, to date only English and Australian sides have competed in and won the World Club Challenge.

Contents

1 History

1.1 1976–1999: Origin and development 1.2 2000–2014: Regular competition 1.3 2015–2017: World Club Series 1.4 2018: World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
return

2 Statistics

2.1 Participants 2.2 List of Finals 2.3 Most successful clubs 2.4 Wins by Competition 2.5 The Treble

3 Venues

3.1 Attendance

3.1.1 Highest 3.1.2 Lowest

4 Records 5 Sponsors 6 References

History[edit] 1976–1999: Origin and development[edit] The competition began so unofficially in 1976 as a match between Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and Premiership winners St. Helens. In 1987, another unofficial match took place when Wigan
Wigan
chairman Maurice Lindsay invited Manly-Warringah to Central Park.[1] The first official World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
was between Widnes
Widnes
and Canberra
Canberra
in 1989. Three further matches, each involving Wigan, were staged in the early 1990s with the 1994 match being staged in Australia. This would be the last time for 20 years that this would happen.

If only we could see a genuine contest between Wigan
Wigan
and Brisbane
Brisbane
– a World Club final. Alas, it will never happen. Oh sure, a game might be arranged, but logistics dictate that one side would be out of season, rusty or tired, and away from home. “ ”

The Sydney
Sydney
Morning Herald, September 1992[2]

After the 1994 match logistical issues meant the concept was put on hiatus until it was revived in 1997. With the outbreak of Australia's Super League
Super League
War in 1995, the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
was not staged again until 1997 when the competition was restructured to include twenty-two clubs from the Australian and European Super Leagues. With six rounds in two hemispheres and $1,000,000 prize money, the competition was prohibitively expensive to stage and reportedly lost over $5,000,000. This, coupled with the poor ratings and attendances both in Australia
Australia
and Europe, led to the competition being postponed for two seasons.

1997 tournament trophy

Returning to a one-off match between the League champions in 1998, a World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
as a show-piece fixture at Ellis Park in Johannesburg was mooted.[3] However this didn't eventuate. 2000–2014: Regular competition[edit] When it was resurrected in 2000, the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
was once more played between the winners of the premierships in Australasia and Europe. During this period it was contested annually in the United Kingdom in late January or early February, before the commencement National Rugby League
National Rugby League
season and the Super League
Super League
season. Over this period Super League
Super League
teams dominated the tournament winning 7 of 9 matches, and this led one Australian commentator to deride the competition, citing the British refusal to play the game outside of the UK, the effects of jet lag on an Australian team who arrived in England
England
only a couple of days before the game, and wintry conditions as reasons for Australian team's poor performance. In addition, the games were being played at the beginning of the new season instead of at the end of the previous season, so the rosters of both sides had normally changed considerably, therefore the teams that took the field were not the ones that won the respective premierships. For these reasons, it was viewed as merely a pre-season warm up game by most Australasian teams and fans.[4][5] Since the 2009 tournament, its popularity has increased with stronger crowds and also with Australian teams taking the concept more seriously, Australian teams were arriving earlier to acclimatize the players and often organising warm up games with other super league sides and this created a much stronger showing and improved results. This also led to an increased movement to having the tournament staged in Australia. During this period, the matches were fixtured in late February, still before the commencement of the National Rugby League season but in the early stages of the new Super League
Super League
season. In mid-2012, a working party was established to look into the feasibility of conducting the match in either a neutral or Australian venue and also looking into the possibility of expanding the tournament.[6] In February 2013, the changes to the tournament were gaining momentum with the NRL
NRL
and Super League
Super League
agreeing to begin alternating the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
tournament between the UK and Australia. These changes were finally confirmed in November 2013, with both parties agreeing that the 2014 World Club Challenge would be the first held in Australia
Australia
since 1994.[7] In addition, commencing in 2015, the tournament would also be expanded to six teams.[8] The World Club Challenge return to Australia
Australia
in 2014 was a success with a solid crowd numbers of over 31,000, with the Sydney Roosters
Sydney Roosters
defeating the Wigan Warriors
Wigan Warriors
36–14. During the game, Sydney's Michael Jennings became the first player to score a hat trick of tries in a World Club Challenge. 2015–2017: World Club Series[edit] Main article: World Club Series In September 2014 it was announced that the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
name would be changed to the World Club Series with six clubs participating – 3 from each league.[9] It took place between February 20–22, 2015, and featured three matches, the first and second essentially being two exhibition games and the final game being for the Championship trophy between the two respective premiers as in previous years.[10] In October 2017 it was suggested that the 2018 Series could be scrapped completely based on the top Australian teams reluctance to travel to the UK for the 2017 series which resulted in the Series being scaled back to two games only. In particular the second game of the 2017 series only featured an invited team from the NRL.[11] In addition, the 2017 Rugby League World Cup
2017 Rugby League World Cup
being played in Australia
Australia
at the end of 2017, meant that the preseasons for Australian teams was going to be unusually short ahead of the 2018 season and therefore did not want to make the trip to England
England
for the 2018 series. The Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm
(2017 NRL
NRL
Premiers) in particular, were reluctant to travel meaning the series was in danger of cancellation for the first time since the 1990s as it is the Storm that was playing in the World Club Challenge. In June 2017, the Super League
Super League
announced that the Australian city of Wollongong
Wollongong
would host the first ever Super League
Super League
game outside Europe. Wigan Warriors
Wigan Warriors
will "host" Hull in the game at WIN Stadium
WIN Stadium
on Saturday, February 10.[12] In addition and as part of this trip to Australia, Wigan
Wigan
and Hull would also play two exhibition games against South Sydney Rabbitohs
South Sydney Rabbitohs
and St George Illawarra Dragons
St George Illawarra Dragons
respectively. These were separately arranged fixtures and not considered part of the World Club Series.[13][14] 2018: World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
return[edit] On 14 November 2017, it was confirmed that Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos
would travel to Australia
Australia
to play Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm
at AAMI Park
AAMI Park
in Melbourne
Melbourne
on 16 February 2018, and that the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
would return to a one-game format for the first time since 2014.[13] The Storm defeated Leeds
Leeds
38–4 to become World Club Champions for 2018 and also became the first club to hold the NRL
NRL
Minor Premiership, NRL
NRL
Premiership and World Club Challenege at the same time since the Sydney Roosters
Sydney Roosters
in 2015. [15] Statistics[edit] Participants[edit]

excludes pool games in 1997

(a) – defunct club (b) – Currently relegated from Super League

World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
Participants

Colors Club Established City League Last WCC # of Titles Last WCC title

Bradford Bulls
Bradford Bulls
(b) 1907 Bradford, West Yorkshire Super League 2006; 12 years ago (2006) 3 2006; 12 years ago (2006)

Brisbane
Brisbane
Broncos 1987 Brisbane, Queensland NRL 2007; 11 years ago (2007) 2 1997; 21 years ago (1997)

Canberra
Canberra
Raiders 1981 Canberra, Australian Capital Territory NRL 1989; 29 years ago (1989) 0

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 1934 Sydney, New South Wales NRL 2005; 13 years ago (2005) 0

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 1967 Sydney, New South Wales NRL 2017; 1 year ago (2017) 0

Hunter Mariners
Hunter Mariners
(a) 1995 Newcastle, New South Wales NRL 1997; 21 years ago (1997) 0

Leeds
Leeds
Rhinos 1870 Leeds, West Yorkshire Super League 2018; 0 years ago (2018) 3 2012; 6 years ago (2012)

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 1946 Sydney, New South Wales NRL 2012; 6 years ago (2012) 1 2009; 9 years ago (2009)

Melbourne
Melbourne
Storm 1997 Melbourne, Victoria NRL 2018; 0 years ago (2018) 3 2018; 0 years ago (2018)

Newcastle Knights 1988 Newcastle, New South Wales NRL 2002; 16 years ago (2002) 0

North Queensland
Queensland
Cowboys 1993 Townsville, Queensland NRL 2016; 2 years ago (2016) 1 2016; 2 years ago (2016)

Penrith Panthers 1967 Penrith, New South Wales NRL 2004; 14 years ago (2004) 0

South Sydney
Sydney
Rabbitohs 1908 Sydney, New South Wales NRL 2015; 3 years ago (2015) 1 2015; 3 years ago (2015)

St George Illawarra Dragons 1998 Sydney
Sydney
and Wollongong, New South Wales NRL 2011; 7 years ago (2011) 1 2011; 7 years ago (2011)

St. Helens 1873 St. Helens, Merseyside Super League 2015; 3 years ago (2015) 2 2007; 11 years ago (2007)

Sydney
Sydney
Roosters 1908 Sydney, New South Wales NRL 2014; 4 years ago (2014) 3 2014; 4 years ago (2014)

Wests Tigers 1999 Sydney, New South Wales NRL 2006; 12 years ago (2006) 0

Widnes
Widnes
Vikings 1875 Widnes, Cheshire Super League 1989; 29 years ago (1989) 1 1989; 29 years ago (1989)

Wigan
Wigan
Warriors 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester Super League 2017; 1 year ago (2017) 4 2017; 1 year ago (2017)

List of Finals[edit] Main article: List of World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
finals 18 teams have competed in the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
with 12 teams being successful and being crowned world champions. Wigan
Wigan
have currently won more finals than any other team.

Year Winners Score Runner-up

1976 Sydney 25–2 St. Helens

1987 Wigan 8–2 Manly

1989 Widnes 30–18 Canberra

1991 Wigan 21–4 Penrith

1992 Brisbane 22–8 Wigan

1994 Wigan 20–14 Brisbane

1997 Brisbane 36–12 Hunter Mariners

2000 Melbourne 44–6 St. Helens

2001 St. Helens 20–18 Brisbane

2002 Bradford 41–26 Newcastle

2003 Sydney 38–0 St. Helens

2004 Bradford 22–4 Penrith

2005 Leeds 39–32 Canterbury

2006 Bradford 30–10 Wests

2007 St. Helens 18–14 Brisbane

2008 Leeds 11–4 Melbourne

2009 Manly 28–20 Leeds

2010 Melbourne1 18–10 Leeds

2011 St George Illawarra 21–15 Wigan

2012 Leeds 26–12 Manly

2013 Melbourne 18–14 Leeds

2014 Sydney 36–14 Wigan

2015 South Sydney 39–0 St. Helens

2016 North Queensland 38–4 Leeds

2017 Wigan 22–6 Cronulla

2018 Melbourne 38–4 Leeds

1 Melbourne
Melbourne
stripped of title due to salary cap breaches Most successful clubs[edit]

Club Wins Last win Runners-up Last final lost Total finals

1 Wigan
Wigan
Warriors 4 2017 3 2014 7

2 Leeds
Leeds
Rhinos 3 2012 5 2018 8

3 Melbourne
Melbourne
Storm 3* 2018 1 2008 5

4 Sydney
Sydney
Roosters 3 2014 0 N/A 3

5 Bradford
Bradford
Bulls 3 2006 0 N/A 3

6 St. Helens 2 2007 4 2015 6

7 Brisbane
Brisbane
Broncos 2 1997 3 2007 5

8 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 1 2009 2 2012 3

9 Widnes
Widnes
Vikings 1 1989 0 N/A 1

10 South Sydney
Sydney
Rabbitohs 1 2015 0 N/A 1

11 St George Illawarra Dragons 1 2011 0 N/A 1

12 North Queensland
Queensland
Cowboys 1 2016 0 N/A 1

13 Penrith Panthers 0 N/A 2 2004 2

14 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0 N/A 1 2017 1

15 Wests Tigers 0 N/A 1 2006 1

16 Canterbury Bulldogs 0 N/A 1 2005 1

17 Newcastle Knights 0 N/A 1 2002 1

18 Hunter Mariners 0 N/A 1 1997 1

19 Canberra
Canberra
Raiders 0 N/A 1 1989 1

(*- Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm
were stripped of their victory in the 2010 World Club Challenge due to salary cap breaches; no winner is recognized for that year)

Wins by Competition[edit]

Competition Wins

1 Super League 13

2 NRL 12

The Treble[edit] The Treble is when one team holds three titles (World Club Challenge, Grand Final Winner and Minor Premiership/League Leader) at the same time. The most recent team to do ths is Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm
in 2018.[16] To date the teams that have held the three titles at once are as follows:

Club Years Titles

Sydney
Sydney
Roosters 1975/76 1975 NSWRFL Grand Final, 1975 Minor Premiership, 1976 World Club Challenge

Brisbane
Brisbane
Broncos 1992 1992 NSWRL Grand Final, 1992 Minor Premiership, 1992 World Club Challenge (b)

Brisbane
Brisbane
Broncos 1997 1997 Super League
Super League
(Australia) Grand Final, 1997 Super League
Super League
Minor Premiership, 1997 World Club Championship
1997 World Club Championship
Final (a)

Bradford
Bradford
Bulls 2001/02 2001 Super League
Super League
Grand Final, 2001 League Leaders Shield, 2002 World Club Challenge

Bradford
Bradford
Bulls 2003/04 2003 Super League
Super League
Grand Final, 2003 League Leaders Shield, 2004 World Club Challenge

Leeds
Leeds
Rhinos 2004/05 2004 Super League
Super League
Grand Final, 2004 League Leaders Shield, 2005 World Club Challenge

St Helens 2006/07 2006 Super League
Super League
Grand Final, 2006 League Leaders Shield, 2007 World Club Challenge

St George Illawarra Dragons 2010/11 2010 NRL
NRL
Grand Final, 2010 Minor Premiership, 2011 World Club Challenge

Sydney
Sydney
Roosters 2013/14 2013 NRL
NRL
Grand Final, 2013 Minor Premiership, 2014 World Club Challenge

Melbourne
Melbourne
Storm 2017/18 2017 NRL
NRL
Grand Final, 2017 Minor Premiership, 2018 World Club Challenge

(a) The 1997 World Club Challenge
1997 World Club Challenge
was a tournament that occurred concurrently with the respective RL seasons, not after them. (b) In 1992 the World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
was played at the conclusion of the respective seasons. NOTE: no English teams feature prior to 1997 as there was no Grand Final played in England
England
at this time. Venues[edit]

City Stadium Years

1 Leeds Elland Road 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010

2 Bolton Macron Stadium 2001, 2003, 2007

3 Huddersfield John Smiths Stadium 2002, 2004, 2006

4 Leeds Headingley Carnegie Stadium 2012, 2013, 2016

6 Wigan DW Stadium 2000, 2011, 2017

5 Wigan Central Park 1987, 1992

7 Sydney Sydney
Sydney
Cricket Ground 1976

8 Manchester Old Trafford 1989

9 Liverpool Anfield 1991

10 Brisbane ANZ Stadium 1994

11 Auckland Ericsson Stadium 1997

12 Sydney Allianz Stadium 2014

13 St. Helens Langtree Park 2015

14 Melbourne AAMI Park 2018

Attendance[edit] Highest[edit]

Year City Stadium Attendance

1994 Brisbane ANZ Stadium 54,220

Lowest[edit]

Year City Stadium Attendance

1997 Auckland Ericsson Stadium 12,000

Records[edit] Main article: World Club Series records Sponsors[edit] The World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
has been sponsored sporadically since its formation with 7 different sponsors.

Period Sponsor Name

1987–1991 Foster's Foster's World Club Challenge

1992–1993 None World Club Challenge

1994–1996 MMI MMI World Club Challenge

1997–2004 None World Club Challenge

2005–2009 Carnegie Carnegie World Club Challenge

2010 Gillette Gillette World Club Challenge

2011 Probiz Probiz World Club Challenge

2012 Heinz Big Soup Heinz Big Soup World Club Challenge

2013 Probiz Probiz World Club Challenge

2014–2015 None World Club Challenge

2016–2017 Dacia Dacia World Club Challenge

2018 Downer Downer World Club Challenge

References[edit]

^ Wilson, Andy (3 October 2010). " Wigan
Wigan
prepare to slay Dragons after crushing St Helens in Grand Final". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 24 July 2011.  ^ Townsend, David (27 September 1992). "Just a Touch of the Old Dart". The Sydney
Sydney
Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Media. p. 47. Retrieved 13 February 2011.  ^ Hadfield, Dave (1998-09-23). "League proposes show in S Africa". The Independent. UK: independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-24.  ^ Phil Gould (2006-02-05). "Humbling highlights Tigers' reliance on Benji". SMH. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  ^ Langdon, Mark (2005-02-04). "Deadly Danny can get St Helens off to a flyer". The Racing Post. London, England: MGN LTD. Retrieved 2009-10-05.  ^ " World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
Expansion Working Party Group". rleague.com. 2012-05-20. Retrieved 2013-02-05.  ^ " World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
confirmed for Aust". nrl.com. 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2013-02-05.  ^ Steve Mascord (2013-02-14). " World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
to be held in Australia". Canberra
Canberra
Times. Retrieved 2013-02-14.  ^ [1][dead link] ^ "Dragons to play in World Club Series". Nrl.com. Retrieved 9 October 2017.  ^ " World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge
set to be scrapped?". seriousaboutrl.com. Retrieved 4 November 2017.  ^ " Wollongong
Wollongong
to host historic Super League
Super League
game". foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 4 November 2017.  ^ a b "2018 World Club Challenge: Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos
to play Melbourne
Melbourne
Storm in Australia". BBC Sport. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "Super League: Wigan Warriors
Wigan Warriors
to face Hull FC in Australia
Australia
in 2018". BBC Sport. 26 July 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "Slater injured as Storm beat Leeds
Leeds
in World Club Challenge". nrl.com.au. Retrieved 16 February 2018.  ^ "Storm treble enters the history books". melbournestorm.com.au. Retrieved 20 February 2018. 

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1976 1987 1989 1991 1992 1994 1997 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

All Four Cups Finals Records

v t e

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Crushers (1995–97) Hunter Mariners
Hunter Mariners
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