For some people (mainly the English) it’s the most highly anticipated game of the year but for most, it’s just another indication that the NRL Premiership season is only weeks away from commencing.
The World Club Challenge will see the Super League’s best go up against the NRL’s best and in 2020, that means that St Helens have the unenviable task of attempting to compete with the Sydney Roosters for 80 minutes.
Betting suggests that it will be a one-sided affair and St Helens have been marked as the $3.60 outsiders, despite having both a fitness edge and home ground advantage over the Roosters ($1.29).
They’ve been one of the Super League’s benchmarks for nearly their entire existence and fittingly, St Helens will fly the flag for the Northern Hemisphere again at this year’s World Club Challenge.
There’s plenty of familiar names in their squad, all of whom are available to play in this game. Lachlan Coote is a sturdy fullback and the St Helens spine has continued to prove that they are amongst the best in the Super League.
What I simply cannot look past is that a lot of St Helens’ stars from Australia and New Zealand struggled for game time during their stints in the NRL, and they will be faced with some of the sport’s best current players in the World Club Challenge. The $3.60 on offer for them to win at publish looks about right.
The Roosters will be without the retired Cooper Cronk, the departed Latrell Mitchell, the rested captain Boyd Cordner and star of their 2019 Grand Final triumph, hooker Sam Verills. Still, they remain dominant favourites in the market and will be extremely difficult to beat.
Coach Trent Robinson has revealed that he will likely trial Blues Origin forward Angus Crichton at left centre in the World Club Challenge, with a view towards that being the 2020 solution to the loss of Mitchell. Crichton, who played at centre in Rugby Union, would surely cause enormous headaches for the average St Helens defence.
With names like Tedesco, Waerea-Hargreaves and Keary still very much in the picture, it could be a long night at the office for the Saints.
2020 World Club Challenge Betting
There is a big class difference between St Helens and the Sydney Roosters, and the latter are primed to record another win. In four previous appearances at the World Club Challenge, the Roosters are yet to taste anything but success, and betting suggests that won’t be changing this weekend.
Even without several big-name players, I am confident that the Roosters will control this match from the outset and ultimately win by plenty of points. That is echoed in the 2020 World Club Challenge tips below.
2020 World Club Challenge Tips
Roosters (-10.5) at $1.95
Roosters 13+ at $2.10
Highest Scoring Half (1st) at $2.00