World Club Challenge

Click here to view World Club Challenge 2013
World Club Series
2012 WCC logo.PNG
Country International
Confederation RFL
Founded 1989
Number of teams 6
Current champions Sydney Roosters (3rd title)
Most championships Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Sydney Roosters (3 Titles)
TV partners Nine Network (Australia)
Sky Sports (United Kingdom)
2015 World Club Series

The World Club Series is an annual rugby league football competition played between the two champion clubs of the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League and two invited clubs from each competition, therefore six teams in total. The competition is an expanded form of the World Club Challenge which, until 2014, was a single match played at the beginning of each year between the two champions of each league. The two champions still compete in a single match for the World Club Championship trophy as in previous years, with the other four teams competing in, what are essentially, exhibition games.

The first such match was played in 1976 but did not become a regular fixture until the late 1980s. It was also punctuated in the 1990s by the Super League war but has been held every year since 2000. Sydney Roosters are the current champions, having defeated Wigan 36–14 in 2014.

As the World Club Series championship match is a match between the premiers of the National Rugby League and Super League, it has been possible for teams from New Zealand, France and Wales to win it as well as England and Australia, however, to date only English and Australian sides have competed in and won the World Club Challenge.


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 World Club Challenge
      • 1.1.1 1976-1999: Origin and Development
      • 1.1.2 2000-2014: Regular competition
    • 1.2 World Club Series
      • 1.2.1 2014-present: Expansion
  • 2 List of participants
  • 3 Results
  • 4 Statistics and records
    • 4.1 Titles won
    • 4.2 Match records
    • 4.3 Individual records
      • 4.3.1 Scoring
    • 4.4 Ground records
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 Sources
  • 8 External links


World Club Challenge

1976-1999: Origin and Development

The competition began so unofficially in 1976 as a match between Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and RFL Premiership winners St Helens. In 1987, another unofficial match took place when Wigan chairman Maurice Lindsay invited Manly-Warringah to Central Park.

The first official World Club Challenge was between Widnes and Canberra in 1989. Three further matches, each involving Wigan, were staged in the early 1990s with the 1994 match being staged in Australia. This would be the last time for 20 years that this would happen.

If only we could see a genuine contest between Wigan and Brisbane – a World Club final. Alas, it will never happen. Oh sure, a game might be arranged, but logistics dictate that one side would be out of season, rusty or tired, and away from home.

The Sydney Morning Herald, September 1992

After the 1994 match logistical issues meant the concept was put on hiatus until it was revived in 1997. With the outbreak of Australia's Super League War in 1995, the World Club Challenge was not staged again until 1997 when the competition was restructured to include twenty-two clubs from the Australian and European Super Leagues. With six rounds in two hemispheres and $1,000,000 prize money, the competition was prohibitively expensive to stage and reportedly lost over $5,000,000. This, coupled with the poor ratings and attendances both in Australia and Europe, led to the competition being postponed for two seasons.

1997 tournament trophy

Returning to a one-off match between the League champions in 1998, a World Club Challenge as a show-piece fixture at Ellis Park in Johannesburg was mooted. However this didn't eventuate.

2000-2014: Regular competition

When it was resurrected in 2000, the World Club Challenge was once more played between the winners of the premierships in Australasia and Europe. During this period it was contested annually in the United Kingdom in late January or early February, before the commencement National Rugby League season and the Super League season. Over this period Super League teams dominated the tournament winning 7 of 9 matches, and this led, Australian commentators to often deride the competition, citing the British refusal to play the game outside of the UK, the effects of jet lag on Australian teams who often arrive in England only a couple of days before the game and wintry conditions as reasons for Australian teams' poor performances. In addition, the games were being played at the beginning of the new season instead of at the end of the previous season, so the rosters of both sides had normally changed considerably, therefore the teams that took the field were not the ones that won the respective premierships. For these reasons, it was viewed as merely a pre-season warm up game by most Australasian teams and fans.

Since the 2009 tournament, its popularity has increased with stronger crowds and also with Australian teams taking the concept more seriously, Australian teams were arriving earlier to acclimatize the players and often organising warm up games with other super league sides and this created a much stronger showing and improved results. This also led to an increased movement to having the tournament staged in Australia. During this period, the matches were fixtured in late February, still before the commencement National Rugby League season but in the early stages of the new Super League season.

In mid-2012, a working party was established to look into the feasibility of conducting the match in either a neutral or Australian venue and also looking into the possibility of expanding the tournament. In February 2013, the changes to the tournament were gaining momentum with the NRL and Super League agreeing to begin alternating the World Club Challenge tournament between UK and Australia. These changes were finally confirmed in November 2013, with both parties agreeing that the 2014 World Club Challenge would be the first held in Australia since 1994. In addition, commencing in 2015, the tournament will also be expanded to six teams. The World Club Challenge return to Australia in 2014 was a success with a solid crowd numbers of just over 31,000, with the Sydney Roosters defeating the Wigan Warriors 36-14. During the game, Sydney's Michael Jennings became the first player to score a hat trick of tries in a World Club Challenge.

World Club Series

2014-present: Expansion

In September 2014 it was announced that the World Club Challenge name would be changed to the World Club Series with six clubs participating - 3 from each league. It will take place between February 22–25, 2014, and will feature three matches, the first and second essentially being two exhibition games and the final game being for the Championship trophy between the two respective premiers as in previous years.

List of participants

  • excludes pool games in 1997
World Club Series Participants
Colors Club Established City Stadium Capacity* Titles (Last)
Bradford Bulls 1907 Bradford, West Yorkshire Odsal 27,491 3 (2006)
Brisbane colours.svg
Brisbane Broncos 1987 Brisbane Suncorp Stadium 52,500 2 (1997)
Canberra colours.svg
Canberra Raiders 1981 Canberra Canberra Stadium 25,000 0
Canterbury colours.svg
Canterbury Bulldogs 1934 Canterbury ANZ Stadium 84,000 0
Hunter colours.svg
Hunter Mariners 1995 Newcastle Topper Stadium 11,000 0
Leeds Rhinos 1864 Leeds, West Yorkshire Headingley Carnegie Stadium 20,500 3 (2012)
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg
Manly Sea Eagles 1946 Manly Brookvale Oval 23,000 1 (2009)
Melbourne colours.svg
Melbourne Storm 1997 Melbourne AAMI Park 30,050 2 (2013)
Newcastle colours.svg
Newcastle Knights 1988 Newcastle, Australia Hunter Stadium 33,000 0
Panthers colours.svg
Penrith Panthers 1966 Penrith, New South Wales Sporting Bet Stadium 22,500 0
St. George colours.svg
St George Illawarra Dragons 1998 Sydney WIN Jubilee Oval 22,000 1 (2011)
St Helens 1873 St Helens, Merseyside Langtree Park 18,000 2 (2007)
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg
Sydney Roosters 1908 Sydney, Allianz Stadium 45,500 3 (2014)
Wests Tigers colours.svg
West Tigers 1999 Sydney, Campbelltown Stadium 22,000 0
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes Vikings 1875 Widnes, Cheshire Select Security Stadium 13,500 1 (1989)
Wigan Warriors 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester DW Stadium 24,057 3 (1994)

*capacity for Rugby League games may differ from official stadium capacity.


Year Winners Score Runner-up Attendance Venue Host Nation
1976 Eastern Suburbs 25–2 St Helens 26,865 Sydney Cricket Ground Australia
1987 Wigan Warriors 8–2 Manly Sea Eagles 36,895 Central Park England
1989 Widnes Vikings 30–18 Canberra Raiders 30,786 Old Trafford England
1991 Wigan Warriors 21–4 Penrith Panthers 20,152 Anfield England
1992 Brisbane Broncos 22–8 Wigan Warriors 17,460 Central Park England
1994 Wigan Warriors 20–14 Brisbane Broncos 54,220 ANZ Stadium Australia
1997* Brisbane Broncos 36–12 Hunter 12,000 Ericsson Stadium England/Australia
2000 Melbourne Storm 44–6 St Helens 13,384 DW Stadium England
2001 St Helens 20–18 Brisbane Broncos 16,041 Macron Stadium England
2002 Bradford Bulls 41–26 Newcastle Knights 21,113 John Smith's Stadium England
2003 Sydney Roosters 38–0 St Helens 19,807 Macron Stadium England
2004 Bradford Bulls 22–4 Penrith Panthers 18,962 John Smith's Stadium England
2005 Leeds Rhinos 39–32 Canterbury Bulldogs 37,028 Elland Road England
2006 Bradford Bulls 30–10 West Tigers 19,207 John Smith's Stadium England
2007 St Helens 18–14 Brisbane Broncos 23,247 Macron Stadium England
2008 Leeds Rhinos 11–4 Melbourne Storm 33,204 Elland Road England
2009 Manly Sea Eagles 28–20 Leeds Rhinos 32,596 Elland Road England
2010 Melbourne Storm* 18–10 Leeds Rhinos 27,697 Elland Road England
2011 St George Illawarra Dragons 21–15 Wigan Warriors 24,268 DW Stadium England
2012 Leeds Rhinos 26–12 Manly Sea Eagles 21,062 Headingley Carnegie Stadium England
2013 Melbourne Storm 18–14 Leeds Rhinos 20,400 Headingley Carnegie Stadium England
2014 Sydney Roosters 36–14 Wigan Warriors 31,515 Allianz Stadium Australia
  • (1997*- Tournament)
  • (*- Melbourne Storm stripped of title)

Statistics and records

NOTE: These statistics do NOT include any matches from the 1997 World Club Championship other than the final.

Statistics Source:

Titles won

By country

Wins Country
12 England England
9 Australia Australia

1 result voided.

By club

Team Titles Runners-up Win %
Bradford 3 (2002, 2004, 2006) 100%
Sydney / Eastern Suburbs 3 (1976, 2003, 2014) 100%
Leeds 3 (2005, 2008, 2012) 3 (2009, 2010, 2013) 50%
Wigan 3 (1987, 1991, 1994) 3 (1992, 2011, 2014) 50%
Brisbane 2 (1992, 1997) 3 (1994, 2001, 2007) 40%
St Helens 2 (2001, 2007) 3 (1976, 2000, 2003) 40%
Melbourne 2 (2000, 2010, 2013) 1 (2008) 66%
Manly-Warringah 1 (2009) 2 (1987, 2012) 33%
Widnes 1 (1989) 100%
St George Illawarra 1 (2011) - 100%
Penrith 2 (1991, 2004) 0%
Canterbury-Bankstown 1 (2005) 0%
Canberra 1 (1989) 0%
Hunter 1 (1997) 0%
Newcastle 1 (2002) 0%
Wests Tigers 1 (2006) 0%

Match records

Greatest winning margin

Points Score Champions Runners-up Year
38 38–0 Sydney St. Helens 2003
38 44–6 Melbourne St. Helens 2000

Most points in a game by a winning side

Points Score Champions Runners-Up Year
44 44–6 Melbourne St. Helens 2000

Most points in a game by a losing side

Points Score Champions Runners-Up Year
32 39–32 Leeds Canterbury-Bankstown 2005

Highest scoring match

Points Score Champions Runners-Up Year
71 39–32 Leeds Canterbury-Bankstown 2005

Lowest scoring match

Points Score Champions Runners-Up Year
10 8–2 Wigan Manly-Warringah 1987

Individual records


Total Points

Points Name (club/s) Appearances Tries Goals Drop Goals
36 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds) 6 0 17 2
24 Frano Botica (Wigan) 3 0 12 0
23 Paul Deacon (Bradford) 2 0 11 1
22 Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney) 1 1 9 0

Most Points in a Game

Points Name (club/s) Tries Goals Opponenet Date
22 Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney) 1 9 St. Helens 14 February 2003

Total Tries (2 or more)

Tries Name (club/s)
4 Ryan Hall (Leeds)
3 Marcus Bai (Melbourne / Bradford)
Michael Hancock (Brisbane)
Michael Jennings (Sydney)
Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds)
Danny McGuire (Leeds)
Darren Smith (Brisbane)
Brett Stewart (Manly-Warringah)
2 George Carmont (Wigan)
Josh Charnley (Wigan)
Hazem El Masri (Canterbury-Bankstown)
Stuart Fielden (Bradford)
Ade Gardner (St Helens)
Scott Hill (Melbourne)
Andrew Johns (Newcastle)
Jamahl Lolesi (Canterbury-Bankstown, Wests Tigers)
Brett Morris (St George Illawarra)
Martin Offiah (Widnes)
Julian O'Neill (Brisbane)
Robbie Paul (Bradford)
Robbie Ross (Melbourne)
Paul Sculthorpe (St Helens)
Lesley Vainikolo (Bradford)
Anthony Watmough (Manly-Warringah)
Michael Withers (Bradford)
Nick Zisti (Hunter)

Most Tries in a Game

Tries Name (club/s) Opponent Date
3 Michael Jennings (Sydney) Wigan 22 February 2014

Total Goals

Goals Name (club/s)
17 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds)
12 Frano Botica (Wigan)
11 Paul Deacon (Bradford / Wigan)
9 Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney)
8 Cameron Smith (Melbourne)

Drop goals

Goals Name (club/s)
2 Sinfield (Leeds)
1 Deacon (Bradford)
Long (St Helens)
Lydon (Wigan)
Sculthorpe (St Helens)
Soward (St George Illawarra)
Tomkins (Wigan)

Ground records

Venue City Number of Games Highest Crowd Lowest Crowd
Anfield Liverpool 1 20,152 20,152
ANZ Stadium Brisbane 1 54,220 54,220
Allianz Stadium Sydney 1 31,515 31,515
Central Park Wigan 2 36,895 17,460
Elland Road Leeds 4 37,208 27,697
Alfred McAlpine Stadium / Galpharm Stadium Huddersfield 3 21,113 18,962
Headingley Stadium Leeds 2 21,062 20,400
JJB Stadium / DW Stadium Wigan 2 24,268 13,394
Ericsson Stadium Auckland 1 12,000 12,000
Old Trafford Manchester 1 30,786 30,786
Reebok Stadium Bolton 3 23,207 16,041
Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney 1 26,865 26,865

See also

Portal icon Rugby league portal



External links

Competition Teams

Latest Competition News

Tuesday's Expert Wrap - NRL Round 7


​WE'VE arrived at the end of the Round 7 of the 2014 National Rugby League Telstra Premiership! Check out all the results, reports and player of the year points right here.

Warriors bounce back to victory

Warriors Logo

THE New Zealand Warriors have returned to the winners circle after their 54 points flogging last week with a 26-12 victory over the Newcastle Knights at Mt. Smart Stadium

Gritty Cowboys account for gutsy Eels

Cowboys Logo

AN 80th minute disallowed try to Parramatta winger Vai Toutai was the difference between heartache and jubilation at Parramatta Stadium tonight as the North Qld Cowboys defeated the Eels 14-10 in front of 9,157 fans.

Zeb Taia signs with the Catalan Dragons


THE Newcastle Knights confirm Zeb Taia has accepted a three-year contract to play with Frances' Catalan Dragons, commencing next season.

NRL Previews - Titans v Tigers (Round 6)


LEAGUEUNLIMITED'S Paul Mitry analyses the battle for the Larry Corowa Shield between the Gold Coast Titans and Wests Tigers this Friday night.