Super League boss will ask NRL a THIRD time to financially back World Club Challenge

Super League CEO Robert Elstone (SWPIX)Super League CEO Robert Elstone (SWPIX)
Super League CEO Robert Elstone (SWPIX)
Super League chief executive Robert Elstone says he will push hard to try and get the NRL to start helping fund and grow the World Club Challenge.
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Only twice in the last 21 years has the game been played Down Under and the contest is, once more, being funded entirely by the Super League clubs.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg is flying in to attend the match and Elstone says - at the third attempt - he will use the chance to try and thrash out better terms.

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"Right now, it is Super League that entirely funds it," he said.

"Essentially the other 11 Super League clubs put their hands in their pockets to make this work.

"We've gone back to the NRL on two occasions and said, whether it be through sponsorship or through support from yourselves, it would really help make this work better commercially.

"We haven't been able to secure that to date.

"But what we have to do is keep delivering a great game in a great stadium with a full house and telling the world that this is something that is great and should be funded on more equal and fair basis."

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Roosters have stopped off in Spain to face Catalans Dragons in an opposed training session at Barcelona and visited the Nou Camp as part of their trip.

Although home advantage aids the Super League champions and Saints are three weeks into their season with the Australian campaign not kicking off until March, back-to-back NRL champions Roosters are seen as favourites.

They beat Wigan Warriors here last year and are seeking a record-equalling fourth title.

As ever, there is the usual battle to try and get an ideal time on the rugby league calendar to stage the fixture but Elstone believes this is the only viable option.

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"I am unashamedly a huge fan of Australian rugby league," he said.

"And to be able to see some amazing Australian players going up against the best Super League has to offer is an absolutely mouth-watering prospect.

"I think it's really important Super League regularly benchmarks its quality against what is probably the best competition in the world.

"The perennial challenge is scheduling. When I came into the job 18 months ago, you immediately thought there's got to be a better time to play this.

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"But pushing it back to later in the season when the Aussies have kicked off is probably a non-starter and the only other option is end of season.

"Then you're backing into the international calendar and promoting and staging a game when you don't know who's going to be in it so there are real practical difficulties about what would appear to the fans to be a very logical end-of-season date.

"So where we are now seems to be the best possible compromise."