St Helens v Sydney Roosters - World Club Series Final
ST HELENS, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Alex Walmsley of St Helens R.F.C on the charge during the World Club Series Final between St Helens at Totally Wicked Stadium on February 22, 2020 in St Helens, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

English Super League champions St Helens are set to play two games in Australia when they travel for the World Club Challenge in February.

Final details are reportedly being arranged, with St Helens already telling supporters and members that they plan to be in Australia to take on the Penrith Panthers on the weekend of February 18.

With the NRL moving to 17 teams next year, it has created a difficult situation for the NRL in scheduling teams to have two trials each, however, a pre-season competition including St Helens is now set to be on the agenda to provide all clubs with two games, with the St George Illawarra Dragons set to be their other opponents.

That game would likely be played on the weekend prior to the World Club Challenge in Wollongong, with the Dragons to then play the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the Charity Shield the following weekend.

The Sydney Morning Herald are reporting that the NRL are close to announcing the involvement of St Helens in the NRL pre-season following their third straight Super League win under the coaching of Dolphins'-bound Kristian Woolf.

It's understood that the Dragons are seen as an ideal opponent for St Helens given the ability to promote a "Saints vs Saints" contest.

The Dragons last played an English club in 2015 when they travelled for the inaugural version of the World Club series, which saw an 18 points to 12 win over the Warrington Wolves. The Brisbane Broncos and South Sydney Rabbitohs would be the other two clubs to travel in 2015.

The Dragons also played the World Club Challenge in 2011, beating the Wigan Warriors by 21 points to 15 at DW Stadium.

The last two instalments of the World Club Challenge have been cancelled thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and it was feared the 2023 version would as well thanks to the Rugby League World Cup.

The World Club Challenge was last played in Australia during 2018 when the Melbourne Storm beat the Leeds Rhinos by 38 point sto 4. The only other time it has been played in Australia this century was in 2014 as the Sydney Roosters beat the Wigan Warriors.