2022 NRL Grand Final - Panthers v Eels
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: The Panthers celebrate with the NRL Premiership Trophy after victory in the 2022 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium on October 02, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Penrith Panthers are reportedly no sure thing to participare in the World Club Challenge despite the game being confirmed as part of the NRL's pre-season fixture list.

The list, which was released at the same time as the fixtures for the regular season, saw the NRL confirm times, venues, teams and dates for two weeks of action which will see 18 games, including the World Club Challenge.

The 17-team competition saw the NRL presented with a unique and difficult situation to find each team two games, but the answer was English Super League champions St Helens.

They will play the St George Illawarra Dragons during the first week of trials on Saturday, February 11 in Wollongong, before taking on the Panthers the following week in the World Club Challenge at BlueBet Stadium.

All other teams will have two trials against NRL opposition.

RELATED: Full pre-season fixtures

The Panthers though, according to News Corp have put a new significant financial demand in front of the NRL for the game to occur.

The report suggests that the Panthers want at least $100,000 to play the match, as well as an additional $200,000 they feel they are owed for winning the 2022 grand final over the Eels. Prizemoney was cut in half compared to what teams won prior to COVID.

The NRL have already suggested that prize money for premierships and minor premierships will be raised from the start of 2023, with clubs doing the double - winning the minor premiership and premiership - able to earn up to $1 million.

But Penrith want extra for what they have won, and want to ensure the compensation and prize money for the World Club Challenge is on par with expectations.

Penrith CEO Brian Fletcher said the club are yet to sign off on the game.

“We are waiting on details from Andrew Abdo – we haven't signed off on the game,” Fletcher said.

“Andrew said we would be playing for prizemoney and we are waiting to hear what it is. We have to hear back from him before we make a decision. It's in Andrew's court.

“It will replace our second trial against Parramatta at home. We have to make sure we are replaced financially.”

Baffingly, the Panthers will play the Eels during the first week of the trials at the foot of the mountains, although the Eels have been listed as the home team.


  1. Straightforward negotiating tactic. You want one thing, so ask for two and negotiate away the “extra” demand to get the one you want.

    As an aside, does anyone know the financial compensation to be paid for St Helens for flying half way round the world, hanging around for a couple of days to get over the jet lag, getting beaten, then flying home again?

    If I were running that club, I would not be splashing out the cash to get my team over here just on the off-chance of winning $100K. For a squad of twenty players, coaches, conditioners and a doctor, $100K would hardly cover the air-fares and hotel bills.

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