General 2016 World Club Series

2016 World Club Series: Super League vs NRL

By Ryan Calder

In the 2015 World Club Series, Australian sides ruled the roost. St George, Brisbane and South Sydney arrived in England mid-February and turned over our three best teams at the time. It was tough to watch as an Englishman, but will the upcoming series be any different?

The first game of the series will take place at Langtree Park, the scene of the Rabbitohs demolition of St Helens last year. This time, the Saints will be entertaining the Sydney Roosters, and the task ahead looks no easier.

In a team filled with State of Origin and international stars, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner stand out as, arguably, the Roosters biggest forwards threat. Dylan Napa's tireless work rate will undoubtedly provide Saints with a handful as the 2015 NRL Minor Premiers will look to repeat their 2004 World Club Challenge success. Joe Burgess could also feature in his first return to England as a Rooster.

We cannot, however, forget the threats that St Helens pose. Despite the loss of human wrecking ball Mose Masoe, 2014's Super League champions still have a monster pack, in particular, Alex Walmsley and Kyle Amor. Tommy Makinson's return from injury should also provide Saints with a bit of flair out wide.

The worry I have for St Helens is that this team is not too dissimilar to the one that was dismantled in the previous World Club Series. My prediction is a Roosters win.

Next up, a repeat of the clash between Wigan and Brisbane. In the previous encounter Wigan were so close to an impressive win, only for the Broncos to snatch it in extra-time.

Brisbane's match winner that day, Corey Parker, was voted as last season's Representative Player of the Year in Australia, thanks to his performances in Queensland's Origin victory over New South Wales.

The Broncos squad holds bags of experience with leaders such as Sam Thaiday, Adam Blair and Darius Boyd all aiming to replicate last season's win over the Warriors. Kodi Nikorima is another player Shaun Wane's men will have to keep quiet as he was awarded Brisbane's Rookie of the Year award for 2015, shortly before going on to impress in New Zealand's recent test series loss to England.

The loss of the club's 2015 top try scorer, Joe Burgess, will undoubtedly be a blow to the Warriors, nonetheless, the squad to face Brisbane will still be a strong one. Wigan's physicality stands out with Michael McIlorum and John Bateman amongst the players likely to get under the skin of Wayne Bennett's side. Super League's Young Player of the Year for last season, George Williams, will also look to catch Brisbane out with his improvised style of play.

The way this Wigan squad has developed over the past year, combined with their ability to grind out good performances in big matches, I think they could be the first Super League team to defeat NRL opposition since 2012.

Last but most certainly not least is the World Club Challenge. Leeds host North Queensland to determine which side is the world's best.

It is impossible to talk about the Cowboys without mentioning 2015's Dally M Medal winner, NRL Fans' Player of the Year, NRL Captain of the Year (shared with Matt Scott), half-back of the Year, NRL Grand Final Man of the Match and Golden Boot award winner, aka Jonathan Thurston. If Leeds can shut him down, they will instantly be half way towards succeeding as World Club Champions. The 32-year-old controls the Cowboys attack and his kicking game can simply tear a team apart.

Hooker and fellow playmaker, Jake Granville, will arrive in England coming off his best season as a professional. Voted as the club's Player's Player of the Year last season, Granville will look to repeat his successes of 2015 and allow North Queensland to dominate in the forwards department, as well as providing a dangerous attacking option close to the opponents try line.

It's tough to assess Leeds' squad situation after the departures of Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai.

Super League's Man of Steel, Zak Hardaker, will be tasked with returning Thurston's inch-perfect kicks, as well as looking to be one of the Rhinos' main attacking assets. Last season's high-achiever, Adam Cuthbertson, will be key in laying the foundations for new hooker Beau Falloon as he will aim to impress the Headingley crowd. A lot will also fall on the shoulders of Danny McGuire as he will attempt to push on from where Sinfield and co left off.

Leeds' squad is very good and will no doubt cause trouble for teams domestically, but for me, this game may be a bridge too far so early into life without Sinfield, Peacock and Leuluai.
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Probably not the right place for this, but too lazy to start another thread (it's Friday night) - reminder that the world club challenge match is on sky sports at 8.30am tomorrow. St Helens vs Roosters.

Get your league fix!

(and go St Helens! Not because the ESL is a superior competiton, but because I hate the Roosters).


Warriors Orange Peeler
Beats watching the Black Caps at the moment.

Was a 3-0 clean sweep for the NRL teams last year and will probably be another whitewash this year.

Anyone have the times for NZ???

Roosters v St Helens, Broncos v Wigan, Cowboys v Leeds — the ultimate guide to the World Club Series, including teams, TV times and fixtures

Game 1: St Helens v Sydney Roosters

What time does the game start? 7am AEDT Saturday at Langtree Park, St Helens. TV: Live on GEM


What are the squads?

St Helens: Tommy Makinson, Jordan Turner, Adam Swift, Travis Burns, Luke Walsh, Alex Walmsley, Kyle Amor, Atelea Vea, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lama Tasi, Greg Richards, Andre Savelio, Luke Thompson, Dominique Peyroux, Theo Fages, Joe Greenwood, Jack Owens, Morgan Knowles

Roosters: Mitchell Aubusson, Joe Burgess, Dale Copley, Kane Evans, Blake Ferguson, Mitchell Frei, Jake Friend, Aidan Guerra, Jackson Hastings, Ian Henderson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Vincent Leuluai, Isaac Liu, Latrell Mitchell, Sam Moa, Dylan Napa, Jayden Nikorima, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Daniel Tupou.

Who do I know from St Helens? The Saints have been one of the best teams in Super League for years and won the title in 2014 but they’ve experienced a real exodus of talent in the last two seasons. They were smacked 44-10 by Salford in their last match and will be without hooker James Roby, arguably their best player and definitely the most recognisable Saint to Australian fans.

Veteran backrower Jon Wilkin will lead the side and they have some firepower in fullback Johny Lomax and winger Tommy Makinson while Alex Walmsley, who was nominated for the Man of Steel award in 2015, will lead the forward pack. In terms of ex-NRL talent the Saints boast former Knights and Penrith halfback Luke Walsh, back-rowers Dominique Peyroux and Atelea Vea, prop Lama Tasi, fullbackShannon McDonnell and the wild Travis Burns, who has spent much of the start of the season in the reserves.

Player to watch: Joe Burgess is certain to make his proper Roosters debut in this fixture and the big winger will be keen to show British fans what they’ll be missing. A bulldozing, try-scoring specialist, Burgess will take up residence on the right wing and look to stamp himself immediately.

What’s the tip? Roosters 24-4

Given the tumultuous off-season the Roosters have endured it may be a surprise to see them as favourites, but St Helens have endured a torrid start to their Super League campaign. They were thrashed by the underwhelming Salford Red Devils last weekend and will likely struggle to deal with the Roosters’ power game in the middle of the field. If young halves Jayden Nikorima and Jackson Hastings can build pressure, the Roosters should be able to grind out a result.


Game 2: Wigan Warriors v Brisbane Broncos

What time does the game start? 7am AEDT (6am Qld time) Sunday at DB Stadium, Wigan. TV: Live on GEM

What are the squads?

Wigan: TBA

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Greg Eden, 3. Jordan Kahu, 4. James Roberts, 5. Corey Oates, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Sam Thaiday, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Adam Blair, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Corey Parker. Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace, 15. Josh McGuire, 16. Joe Ofahengaue, 17. Travis Waddell, 18. Herman Ese’ese, 19. Tom Opacic

Who do I know from Wigan? The Cherry and Whites back homegrown talent more than most and boast just four former NRL players. Sam Tomkins returns after an ill-fated stint with the Warriors, former Cronulla forward Taulima Tautai has become a mainstay in the middle of the field, former Eels prop Lee Mossop is running around and one-time Melbourne centre Willie Isa joined the club this season from Widnes. Another NRL product, burly centre Anthony Gelling, was a mainstay of the Roosters junior ranks but was sacked before he made his debut. With young English stars like Josh Charnley, Dan Sarginson, Liam Farrell and Test skipper Sean O’Loughlin in the side, Wigan look to be the most competitive of the three Super League sides.

Player to watch: New recruit James Roberts was kept quiet in the All Stars match and Wayne Bennett has warned that the flashy centre will take time to find his feet, but when he does it will be absolutely spectacular. Roberts can tear any defence apart on his day and if Wigan aren’t careful he could cut them to pieces with his speed and evasion.

What’s the tip? Broncos 16-14

Wigan have the best shot of any of the Super League teams at snatching victory and the loss of Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt to suspension is a real blow. While Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford are both slashing runners of the football the Broncos will lack a quality kicking game and given Wigan’s potent backline that could tip the scales in the Riversiders’ favour. However, Brisbane are still stacked with classy players from top to bottom and their devestating backline should be able to produce enough points to win.


Game 3: Leeds Rhinos v North Queensland Cowboys

What time does the game start? 6am AEDT (5am Qld time) Monday at Headingley Stadium, Leeds. TV: Live on GEM

What are the squads?

Leeds: TBA

Cowboys: TBA

Who do I know from Leeds? The Rhinos are coming off one of the best seasons in their history and in 2015 became just the third team in the Super League era to win the Challenge Cup, Super League Leaders Shield and the grand final in a single year. They’ve won six titles in the last 10 seasons and their seven Super League championships, the most of anyone in the league, have all come in the last 12 years. They’ve also won the last two Challenge Cups, the latest of which was a record 50-0 flogging of Hull KR, the biggest defeat in a final in the 124-year history of the competition.

However, Leeds have hit a little rough patch to get the season under way. They were smacked 56-12 by Widnes over the weekend and lost Tom Briscoe, Carl Ablett and Ashton Golding to injury and with captain Danny McGuire, veteran back-rowers Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Stevie Ward and NRL recruit Beau Falloonalready on the sidelines they’ll be down to a bare bones unit this weekend. They’ll still have the services of Zak Hardaker, the reigning Man of Steel winner and the best fullback in England as well as centre Kallum Watkins and winger Ryan Hall, who are also among the best in the world at their positions. The Rhinos boast several ex-NRL stalwarts including Joel Moon, Keith Galloway, Mitch Garbutt and Brett Delaney.

Player to watch: In one of the most improbable things to happen in rugby league, Adam Cuthbertson has transformed into an elite front-rower since joining Leeds in 2015. Always an offloading savant in the NRL, Cuthbertson never really realised his potential in a nomadic eight-year career in the NRL but was a contender for the Man of Steel last season and could earn an England call-up sooner rather than later due to his Pommy heritage. Look for him to make a big impact on Monday morning.

What’s the tip? North Queensland 40-12

This one could get ugly. Leeds’ title defence has gotten off to a rotten start and they were smacked around by Widnes last weekend, conceding 10 tries and looking nothing like the powerful outfit who won the treble last season. They’ve been ripped apart by injuries while the Cowboys are tipped to unleash the exact team that toppled Brisbane in the decider last October. If Leeds can’t get their act together we could be looking at a record-breaking World Club Challenge scoreline.


Half time at St Helens. 22-0 to the Roosters. Based on this performance ESL is going backwards fast. Who in their right mind would sign anybody from that comp for top dollar. Defence is just above u20s standard. No wonder players from down here head north, it might be cold and wet but they get way more than they are worth to play. Sam Tompkins in the expert role on TV:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:. Might not be playing until Mayo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_O...for all JD's magic box tricks swapping him for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has to be right up there. Selling an under-performing overpriced crock and getting a genuine rock start in return. How does he get away with it?:D:D:D:D:D
Missed the full game, watched the highlights, Konnie wouldn't even be in St Helens top 10 of blokes that clock off after missing the initial tackle, they were utter arse biscuits, no wonder Tomkins looked so fast and elusive, once he got a metre away from a defender they stop chasing. Says it all when Dom Peyroux is the best attacking player in the team, and I liked him, but he ain't no Shaun Johnson.


Well I missed the whole thing! Was it on SKY? From what Im hearing Kodi Nikorima was a superstar...
Jayden Nikorima not Kodi. I only watched the first half because she who must be obeyed wanted to go shopping. Jayden made a massive line break that led to a try. He looked like he was slow but in hindsight I think he saw he had a speedster with the drop on him and lined up a support runner instead, smart player.

Missed the full game, watched the highlights, Konnie wouldn't even be in St Helens top 10 of blokes that clock off after missing the initial tackle, they were utter arse biscuits, no wonder Tomkins looked so fast and elusive, once he got a metre away from a defender they stop chasing. Says it all when Dom Peyroux is the best attacking player in the team, and I liked him, but he ain't no Shaun Johnson.
I agree, handbag grabbing tackles and all that sort, Konnie would be a rockstar over there for sure.
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St Helens were shite and the Roosters looked quite good.

Mind you, St Helens got pasted by Salford last week.
Good point. That Kharkoush guy seems to have kicked a few butts. Good job, it used to be a great club way back last millennium. There were a lot of empty seats at the ground for such a big match. Got me thinking...just saying.
There was a bit of a turning point early on when the St Helens half back wasted six tackles as he thought he had a free play - obviously nobody told him international rules were in force.

Roosters were much the better team though.
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There was a bit of a turning point early on when the St Helens half back wasted sic tackled as he thought he had a free play - obviously nobody told him international rules were in force.

Roosters were much the better team though.
I saw that. I have to agree with the commentators that having different rules is not a good look. BTW Stevo has been in hospital. Geez can't they find somebody who is alive for that job? They guy has been a pain for too long. I remember him playing for Penrith in the 70s and he looked ready for the pension then.


6 - 0 Brisbane over Wigan so far. This is a different game to yesterday. Wigan are putting up a good show and I reckon the Brisbane try should not have been allowed. The replay shows the foot out before the ball gets to the line but Chechin had called it a try. Chechin has a new haircut too.