Why the future of the World Club Challenge must be secured

The Guardian - Feb 20, 12:58 GMT

Sunday night was a big success

Sunday night was a big success. The Super League and NRL should be working together to ensure this contest lives on

By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required

Anyone doubting the status of the World Club Challenge should have seen the evidence in Wigan on Sunday evening. Giant flags, a serious burst of fireworks, and the NRL and Super League trophies greeted the players as they walked out at the DW Stadium. Amid all the ceremony, it felt as if there were more people on the pitch before kick-off than have been in the stands at some League One games this season. Wigan’s hotels were full and there were even half-and-half scarves for sale outside, for goodness’ sake.

Yet after an interminable wait to collect their medals from Martin Offiah – looking like Cluedo’s Reverend Green in an extraordinary outfit - the victorious Roosters players seemed faintly embarrassed to be on stage after a ‘trial game’, looking at the strategically-placed bottles as if to say, “Champers, after that - really?”. But their achievement sunk in and they were still in their dressing room celebrating 80 minutes after the final hooter.

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