MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow of Leeds Rhinos celebrate with the trophy and their team-mates at the end of the Betfred Super League Grand Final match between Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford on October 7, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Leeds Rhinos will bid to become only the second British team to ever win the World Club Challenge in Australia when they travel to Melbourne next month.

NRL champions Melbourne Storm await them down under after they refused to travel to
Yorkshire for the game.

History is against the Rhinos as no British team has won the challenge in Australia since the Super League era began and the Storm have had their number in recent meetings. Leeds are the huge underdogs in this match but have every reason to be confident after their superb exploits last season.

In 2017, Leeds displayed grit and determination to bounce back from a dismal campaign the previous year and seize glory once again. They got off to an inauspicious start, losing 66-10 to Castleford and Gary Hetherington faced calls to dismiss head coach Brian McDermott as pessimism abounded. But Hetherington stuck by McDermott and was vindicated as Leeds found their feet and soared back into the top four.

Matt Parcell proved to be a great signing and the Rhinos found consistency that deserted them in 2016. Their 43-24 win over Hull FC in the Challenge Cup semi-final was a particular high point, but they were not given much chance in the Grand Final against table toppers Castleford, after failing to beat them on four occasions throughout the season, but departing captain Danny McGuire put in a sensational shift to drive them to a thumping 24-6 victory, scoring two tries and walking off with the man of the match award.

SEE ALSO:  REPORTS: Dragons interested in Hayne

Now Leeds have to adapt to life post-McGuire, and before they head down under they have two crunch Super League fixtures to contend with.

They have lost successive opening day fixtures and will have to start the campaign with a lot more intensity if they are to end that poor run. We are now just a few days away from the start of the season, and champions Leeds get things underway as they travel to Warrington on Thursday evening.

The Rhinos are pretty heavy underdogs in this game too: William Hill will have the latest odds, make sure to review them, and you will see that they are priced at 11/8, while Warrington are the odds-on favourites at 8/13. It is nowhere near as bad as the World Club Challenge, where Leeds are all the way out at 15/2 and the Storm are just 1/12 to win it.

SEE ALSO:  Another contender to coach Manly emerges

The Wolves have been a strong and consistent team over the past couple of years, so it will be a difficult game, but front-rower Brad Singleton insists Leeds are in great
shape heading into the new season.

“I think we’ve laid some great foundations with how we left off last year,” he said.

“The boys who’ve come in have added some quality to the group and I think we will be there or thereabouts come the Warrington game.”

It will be a big game for Brad Dwyer, who joined from Warrington, while Dragons star Richie Myler and Nathaniel Peteru of the Gold Coast Titans have also injected a fresh dynamic into the Leeds team.

Myler has big boots to fill, but he is strong and extremely experienced, and Dwyer is also a seasoned pro. Stevie Ward, who scored 10 tries in 26 appearances in 2017, is set for a big season if he remains injury-free. Throw in Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins and Leeds have a team stacked with magnificent talent.

The 11/8 on them stunning the Wolves looks interesting, and you have to say that 15/2 on them against the Storm is huge value on a team that dominated last year.

4 COMMENTS

  1. What the Storm want, the Storm get…….last year they had a dummy spit and didn’t even participate, this year they’ve had another dummy spit and refused to travel to the UK, meaning we now only have one game instead of the normal World Club Series

    • World Club Series was kind of bad though, in my opinion. It’s a great idea in theory to get a mini comp of English sides vs NRL sides, but it doesn’t work because it’s too much of a hassle for the team schedules so they don’t take it seriously. And then there’s the fact that most people only care about the actual World Club Challenge match between the 2 premiers, the other matches were practically just a pointless trial, at least the premiers match is watching the best vs the best go at eachother

    • You’re right Sammy, this goes to show that the NRL isn’t really running the show when individual clubs can do as they please. I’m still waiting for the day to see the NRL show true leadership, control the clubs (without any bias), sanction those clubs that do the wrong thing and reward those that do the right thing.

      The NRL need to look at the way that professional sports are run such as the EPL, NFL or NBA and learn from them and move away from the “ex footballers can run a business” sort of mentality. Bring in people that are credible and capable of showing tough love for the good of the game.

      I really fear for this great game. We have a great product but sadly have had morons running it for a long time now (look at the salary cap for instance and TPAs if you don’t believe how laughable and unfair our game is). We are losing fans in droves to rival codes and sitting back and doing nothing about it.

      Let’s see if anything changes this year, I won’t be holding my breath…

      • I think part of the issue is also and i dont know how it gets fixed is there is still the “hangover” from the super league war.Its from the top office down to the punter on the street.Adminastration has no idea where its going.The reffs havent a clue on the rules(to many inturpretations).The fans still have scars depending on what side you club sat.Than you throw in the PC brigade on how the game should be played and portrayed.The great product that was is nolonger.The only way i can see it being fixed is the NRL has to just say we stuffed up and we need to take a step back in time to go forward

Comments are closed.