SUPER LEAGUE champions Leeds Rhinos are hopeful next year’s World Club Challenge showdown with Australian Grand Final winners Melbourne Storm will go ahead.
Rhinos are expecting to play the game on the weekend of February 24/25 and have made arrangements to use Leeds United’s Elland Road ground.
Super League runners-up Castleford Tigers are due to take on their NRL equivalents North Queensland that weekend in the World Club Series.
However, Storm are understood to be reluctant to travel and yesterday announced they will play the Cowboys in a pre-season testimonial for Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston in Brisbane on Friday, February 23.
Even so, Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington insisted he is confident the World Club showdown will go ahead. He said: “Nothing has changed, we have an agreement to play the World Club Challenge at Elland Road if it is in England but we are prepared to go to Australia if it’s not.”
Hetherington added: “It is not our decision, it is down to Super League and the NRL and I am expecting more information at a Super League clubs’ meeting [tomorrow].”
Rhinos and Storm are old world title foes.
Leeds won 11-4 at Elland Road in 2008, but Melbourne were 18-10 victors on the same ground two years later and won the teams’ 2013 clash, at Headingley, 18-14.