RFL chief executive Nigel Wood insists Super League’s leading clubs are the equal of their Australian rivals in “every capacity.”
The World Club Series gets underway next month when the three top sides from the northern and southern hemispheres take each other on over one weekend.
It is an expansion of the World Club Challenge – the long-running battle between the Super League and NRL champions – and had its inaugural showing 12 months ago. Back then, the three Australian sides prospered but Wood believes their English counterparts can turn that around now.
“Firstly, we have to really recognise and celebrate the fact it’s taken us a while to get the concept up and away,” he said.
“Last year, there were only a handful of NRL clubs who wanted to consider it. This year they virtually all put their hands up and said they wanted to be a part of this. It’s testimony to the concept that they are bringing their one, two and three over; this is not the champions plus two other volunteers. It puts equity into it.
“For us, I think we do need to get a win. But we’ve had success in this competition before.
“Our best clubs are absolutely the equal of the NRL clubs in every capacity – on field and off it. We might not have the same depth in terms of excellence as the NRL but we should definitely believe St Helens, Wigan and Leeds are as good on and off the field as those they’ll be playing.”
Saints host Sydney Roosters on Friday, February 19, Wigan entertain fellow Grand Final losers Brisbane Broncos the next night before Leeds tackle NRL champions North Queensland Cowboys on the Sunday.