Storm v Rhinos 'best ever' WCC clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm v Rhinos 'best ever' WCC clash

By John Marsh 23/02/2010 02:37:21 PM Comments (0)

With Melbourne stars Greg Inglis and Billy Slater returned to fitness, Leeds coach Brian McLellan says the 2010 rugby league World Club Challenge looms as the best ever.

Far from regretting the attacking threat posed by their pair, McLellan has welcomed their presence for Sunday's Elland Rd showpiece clash between the dominant teams of recent years in the English and Australian competitions.

"It's really great that they're playing," said former Kiwis mentor McLellan.

"They are stars of our game and I think when you look at the quality of players in both teams, this is probably the best World Club Challenge we've seen.

"They (Melbourne) have been in the (NRL) final four years in a row and we've won the Super League three years in a row so I don't think we've seen two teams in this game who have gone on in better form."

The WCC started 1976 with a one-off game and was revived in 2000, with a game played in the UK during the Australian pre-season every year since.

Slater is over the ankle injury that kept him out of the NRL All Stars game while Inglis (hip), proved his fitness with a cameo in the easy win against Harlequins on Sunday.

McLellan won't reveal his starting team until an hour before kick off and is sticking to the domestic convention of a naming a 19-man squad no more than 48 hours before the game.

He has centre Brett Delaney (knee/hamstring) and winger Scott Donald (shoulder) in doubt and second rower Carl Ablett (knee) unavailable.

"Delaney has been having rehab. We don't know about his fitness yet," McClennan said. "Scott Donald has had scans and we're waiting for the results."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he had chosen Richard Silverwood for Sunday from a panel of Super League referees which also included Steve Ganson and Thierry Alibert.

And he said some of the interpretations in Super League were better than the NRL, particularly in the way defensive teams were rewarded for dominant defence.

"We just have to adjust," he said. "We'll have a meeting with the referees boss during the week some time."

Storm skipper Cameron Smith remains favoured to play at five-eighth for Melbourne, with Ryan Hinchcliffe at hooker.

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