With the Storm having again kept the World Club Challenge in Australian hands, after backing up Manly’s effort with a come from behind win over Leeds recently – the calls to extend the annual World Club Challenge to 6 teams seem to be a very productive idea for Rugby League not only in Australia and England but Globally.
This is the final year of the World Club Challenge contract that currently stipulates the game must be played on English soil as agreed by the RFL and the NRL.
As it comes to renewal time, there is no better chance to revamp the format and offer an even more enticing product to fans with financial windfalls for the game and the chance for greater international exposure.
In a small version of what soccer currently does in Europe with the old UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) where leading club sides fought it out to determine who was best in the world.
Current proposals suggest that the best 3 teams from the NRL and the Super League would face off on the traditional World Club Challenge weekend. With three games being played, the winners helping their competition and country outstrip the other on the overall ladder.
There would be renewed interest in the format and the chance for the games to be played on neutral territory would not only remove the problem of the homeground advantage, but it could offer the chance for Rugby League to expand into additional waters.
Destinations in either Asia, Middle East or other parts of Europe could really open new doors.
The other big plus would be the additional TV revenue coming in for the games. More airtime means more money for both competitions and the windfall would be welcomed by both parties.
Ever since the UK went down the Super League path and the NRL went down a different road, the gap between the games has been hard to bridge. This could be the ideal chance to bring the competitions closer together once more and forge a new era of exciting Rugby League.