The World Club Challenge looks set to return, with reports suggesting that NRL Premiers the Penrith Panthers will be given permission to host the hotly-anticipated clash with English champions St Helens.
The renowned pre-season match has been abandoned in recent years thanks to the advent of COVID, but efforts are being made on both sides of the world to ensure the game returns in February, 2023.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Panthers had little desire to drag their players back to England after a lengthy World Cup, so the English champions will be the travelling team if the fixture returns next year.
But despite the home advantage, it's likely that a number of Panthers stars including Isaah Yeo, Liam Martin and Nathan Cleary will play limited minutes – if at all – as they recover from international duties.
“It would have been impossible for us to go over there,” Panthers boss Brian Fletcher told the Herald.
“But talk of them coming over here is excellent.
“The plan will be to play the game a week before the start of the NRL competition.
“We'd love for it to happen. It will be great for the area, it's something different. It will also give some of our younger boys the chance to have a run against a quality side.
The Panthers and Saints have been the powerhouses of their respective competitions for years now. Penrith have won the last two NRL grand finals and made the last three, while St Helens have won the last four Super League championships.
The World Club Challenge hasn't been held in Australia since 2018, and not in Sydney since the Sydney Roosters hosted Wigan in 2014. Both St Helens and Panthers coach Ivan Cleary have already expressed a recent interest in the return of the annual fixture.