Penrith players lift the trophy after winning the NRL grand final.
Penrith have successfully defended their NRL title by beating Parramatta by 16 points in Sydney. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Penrith to chase elusive World Club Challenge trophy

Jasper Bruce December 1, 2023

Three-time back-to-back NRL premiers Penrith have confirmed they will fly to England for the World Club Challenge to compete for the only major rugby league trophy they haven’t won.

The Panthers will meet Super League champions Wigan in the annual clash of the rugby league premiership winners at 7am on February 25 (AEDT).

COVID-19 restrictions meant Penrith could not contest the match after the first of their three consecutive premiership victories and they lost to St Helens in the latest iteration in February.

The Panthers were also beaten in the World Club Challenge directly after their 1991 and 2003 premiership victories as well.

The World Club Challenge at DW Stadium in Wigan will be played less than two weeks before the Panthers’ first game of the regular season against Melbourne on March 8.

The match marks the Panthers’ first competitive hit-out since losing triple premiership players Spencer Leniu and Stephen Crichton to rival clubs in the off-season.

It could also mark the club debuts of recruits Paul Alamoti, Daine Laurie and Brad Schneider, and long-awaited return of winger Taylan May who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

“Wigan are a proud rugby league club that have achieved sustained success for many years which will give the Panthers an exciting challenge to open the 2024 campaign,” said Panthers football boss Matt Cameron.

Wigan defeated Catalans Dragons 10-2 in the Super League grand final in October to seal their spot in the fixture, which has been won by an Australian side seven of the last nine times.