League's World Club Challenge 'farcical' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

League's World Club Challenge 'farcical'

By Daniel Pace 03/10/2006 07:29:50 PM Comments (0)

The World Club Challenge between Brisbane and the English club champion threatens to degenerate into a farce with most of the Broncos premiership winning squad set to miss the match.

Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen said on Tuesday he planned to give his representative players an eight week holiday following their Tri Nations commitments, with the series final scheduled for November 25 in Sydney.

That would mean up to ten players wouldn't be back on deck until just a few days before the annual match between the NRL champions and English title holders which has been marked in for the first weekend of February.

"That's a bit of a worry when you talk about burnout, particularly that Tri Nations mob," Cullen told AAP on Tuesday night.

"We're going to have to give them eight weeks off at the end of November.

"That means we've got a major problem in regards to the World Club Challenge.

"They'll be still on their break when it's played. They're not going to play a game after not having done anything for eight weeks."

The Broncos have at least nine players involved in the Tri Nations series, with winger Tame Tupou set to be named in the New Zealand squad on Wednesday.

They also have four players selected in the Junior Kangaroos 17-man squad to play the Kiwis in Melbourne on October 21 as a curtain-raiser to the Test between Australia and New Zealand.

Utility Greg Eastwood could also be called into the Kiwis squad.

And Shane Webcke (retired) and Casey McGuire (Les Catalans) will also be missing from the side that beat Melbourne 15-8 in Sunday's grand final.

"But we're not saying they won't be (available), we've just got to see what happens throughout the Tri Nations and see where they all are at the end of November," Cullen said.

The match could be played in Brisbane depending on negotiations between the NRL and Rugby Football League (RFL) and will be contested between Brisbane and St Helens, Hull or Bradford.

The English champions have won five of the past six World Club Challenge games, with the Sydney Roosters being the last Australian side to triumph - a 38-0 thrashing of St Helens in 2003.

Meanwhile, former Test rake Ben Elias said Broncos coach Wayne Bennett would be mad to shift Berrigan from hooker next season, despite the presence of Ian Lacey and Michael Ennis.

"He's the reason the Broncos got to the grand final," said Elias on Tuesday.

"Why would you change a side that got you to the grand final?

"Berrigan's got a Clive Churchill Medal and he's been dynamite. He's been the most impressive player in the semi-finals series by a country mile.

"I thought the form hooker was Cameron Smith but Berrigan gave him a knock-out punch, round three in the grand final."

Broncos fans will be able to toast Brisbane's premiership success with commemorative beer brewed by club sponsors Castlemaine Perkins.

Celebrating Broncos players will take part in the launch of the beer in Brisbane on WEdnesday following a parade and civic reception for the team.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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