NRL 9 months ago

Storm snub World Club Challenge

  • Storm snub World Club Challenge

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Storm players sing the national anthem before the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The NRL may struggle to find a willing representative for the World Club Challenge runners-up match, with the top eight teams reluctant to take part in the February series.

While NRL premiers Cronulla are locked in to face Super League Champions Wigan in the UK, runners-up Melbourne are reportedly not keen to make the journey around a month from the season start.

The Storm, who would face Warrington, have cited unnecessary pressure on players for their unwillingness, despite a $400,000 purse.

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"We do have some serious concerns about travelling across to the other side of the world two weeks out from our season starting for what is effectively a trial match,'' Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy told News Corp Australia.

"We've had two trials matches locked in for a long time and that may be a better option for us as we look to build into next season.''

Fellow finalists Canberra, North Queensland, Brisbane, Penrith, Canterbury and Gold Coast are also not keen.

"It's a long way to go for a game that doesn't mean anything," Cowboys football manager Peter Parr said.

Sydney Roosters' participation in the 2016 series in February, where they beat St Helens 38-12, may back up the clubs' concerns about player burn-out close to the season opener.

The 2015 minor premiers lost the first eight games of the season, although they had other contributing factors to their poor start following Mitchell Pearce's Australia Day antics.

Fellow participants Brisbane and North Queensland fared considerably better, with the 2015 premiers winning three of their five first starts and the Broncos four.

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