So, it’s the World Club Challenge on Sunday; that’s nice. Nice too to see the 1987 Wigan team getting belated recognition for their precursor-World Club Challenge win over Manly; wonder if the league will also recognise Saints’ European Cup win over St.Gaudens? Or their pioneering yet ultimately futile club tour of Australia and New Zealand, including a World Club Championship (pre-precursor) defeat at Eastern Suburbs on June 29th, 1976 (25-2, att:26,865).
But there are bigger questions to ponder in rugby league; like what’s to become of this orphan trophy, the World Club Challenge.
The reality …
Well I Googled ‘world club challenge’. The first entry that popped up was a wikipedia one, the second was the engage Super League site; which duly informed me that the game was to be played at Elland Road. What? A quick head shake and a re-read later I spotted that it was telling me about the 2010 event.
Oh dear. Well it’s a sellout anyway, so I don’t suppose it matters; I found the right one in the end, it’s here.
I think the concept is a great one; but even Soccer has problems scheduling a meaningful global championship game. So small wonder that rugby league cannot make ends meet. For the Australians it’s a long way to haul for a pre-season knockout. For the British it’s a chance to crow about a win that leaves you feeling a little bit itchy when you think about it, or a chance to gawp at what an awesome game rugby league can be when it’s played between two teams of 20-stone sprinters.
In fact the World Club Challenge will always remain ‘unadopted’ until it assumes its rightful place as the Grand Final of a global competition; well okay an Anglo-French-Antipodean competition
Will that ever happen? I’d guess not.
At least not unless the mighty dollar can talk sweetly enough persuade both NRL and Super League champions to back up a fortnight later in a winner takes all Super Bowl style final.
Now that, that would be a game.
Ah, well, we can but dream.