The four-time Super League champions, St Helens, will take on the back-to-back NRL champions, Penrith Panthers; watch the World Club Challenge between St Helens and Penrith Panthers on Sky Sports Arena, Mix and Main Event from 7.50am on Saturday 18 February
Last Updated: 16/02/23 6:24pm
We have taken a look at all the latest talking points and team news as St Helens and Penrith Panthers go head to head in the World Club Challenge….
The stars are on display
With the World Club Challenge being played during pre-season, there can often be a worry that teams may not put out some of their star performers. However, in this year’s game, that is something no one need worry about.
St Helens will be putting out their strongest team, minus the injured Joe Batchelor, with the Panthers drafting in Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai.
Penrith’s backline has been fearsome the past few years and will pose a threat to St Helens, but the English champions have some star quality of their own.
Jack Welsby, who impressed in Saints’ win over St George Illawarra Dragons and faced off against Luai at the World Cup in November, will be someone the Australian team have to look out for and Lewis Dodd and Alex Walmsley have also tipped to cause some damage.
The four-time Super League champions against the two-time NRL champions is as exciting a contest as the sport gets, and these sides will not want to disappoint.
Sculthorpe: Key is playing the ‘Saints way’
Paul Sculthorpe knows St Helens will need to be at their best to overcome Penrith in the World Club Challenge on Saturday.
Saints great Sculthorpe was twice a winner of the annual showpiece and knows what it takes to come out on top.
The 45-year-old also feels it is a “great” time to play the Australian champions, as the sides face each other at the BlueBet Stadium in Penrith, New South Wales, this weekend.
Sculthorpe told the PA news agency: “Saints have had a couple of friendlies, but it’s a whole different ball game on Saturday.
“I think for Saints to win it, they have got to be at their best. But also, it’s a great time to catch Penrith, they have got to start quick and get in their faces and upset them.
“They have a lot of talented players but so do Saints. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to beat them at what they do, play the Saints way and play some rugby.”
Cleary: The Panthers are ready to go
Penrith’s Cleary believes his side are raring to go as they prepare to face St Helens.
It will be Cleary’s first World Club Challenge game, due to none being played since 2020, and he knows his side will have to show St Helens “respect” to get the job done.
“Obviously a unique situation for us, we haven’t been able to play in one yet [due to Covid],” Cleary said.
“It’s obviously a great challenge as well and a team like St Helens, they deserve our upmost respect.
“They have won four comps in a row; it’s pretty unbelievable really.
“I am really look forward to the challenge that that possesses on Saturday night and it is a great opportunity for us in the club because we’ve never won one before.”
St Helens: 1.Jack Welsby, 2.Tommy Makinson, 3.Will Hopoate, 4.Mark Percival, 5.Jon Bennison, 6.Jonny Lomax, 7.Lewis Dodd, 8.Alex Walmsley, 9.James Roby, 10.Matty Lees, 11.Sione Mata’utia, 13.Morgan Knowles, 14.Joey Lussick, 15.Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16.Curtis Sironen, 17.Agnatius Paasi, 18.Jake Wingfield, 19.James Bell, 20.Dan Norman, 21.Ben Davies, 23.Konrad Hurrell, 25.Tee Ritson
Penrith Panthers: 1.Stephen Crichton 2.Taylan May 3.Izack Tago 4.Sunia Turuva 5.Brian To’o 6.Jarome Luai 7.Nathan Cleary 8.Moses Leota 9.Mitch Kenny 10.James Fisher-Harris 11.Luke Garner 12.Zac Hosking 13.Isaah Yeo 14.Jack Cogger 15.Matt Eisenhuth 16.Spencer Leniu 17.Jaeman Salmon 18.Lindsay Smith 19.Kurt Falls 20.Liam Henry 21.Thomas Jenkins 22.Mavrik Geyer
Live World Club Challenge
February 18, 2023, 7:50am
NRL Pre-Season Challenge and All Stars fixtures
Friday, February 17: Charity Shield – St George Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (4.30am), Newcastle Knights vs Parramatta Eels (6.55am), Sydney Roosters vs Manly Sea Eagles (9am).
Saturday, February 18: Wests Tigers vs Canberra Raiders (Sky Sports Mix, 3.55am), WORLD CLUB CHALLENGE – PENRITH PANTHERS VS ST HELENS (7.50am), Brisbane Broncos vs North Queensland Cowboys (9.10am).
Sunday, February 19: New Zealand Warriors vs Melbourne Storm (Sky Sports Mix, 1.50am), Canterbury Bulldogs vs Cronulla Sharks (6am), Dolphins vs Canberra Raiders (8.05am).
* All matches on Sky Sports Arena unless stated
Sky Sports is the home of all three Super League Grand Finals in 2023. The Men’s Grand Final, the Women’s Grand Final and the Wheelchair Grand Final will all be live on Sky Sports next season.
The new Super League season starts on Thursday, February 16, with Sky Sports showing 66 live matches this year.