Rugby League - Hoffman eyes Challenge hat-trick

Melbourne Storm second rower Ryan Hoffman will be a man on a mission on February 22.

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Rugby League - Hoffman eyes Challenge hat-trick
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Ryan Hoffman played one season with Wigan in 2011 before returning to Melbourne

The international forward is bidding to win a third World Club Challenge title when the NRL premiers tackle Super League champions Leeds Rhinos at Headingley. It will be Hoffman's fifth appearance on club rugby league's biggest stage and he cannot wait to get on the plane.

"I have played in four and been on both sides (as) part of the Australian side and part of the English with Wigan," said Hoffman, who played one season with Wigan in 2011 before returning to Melbourne for 2012. "I know the English fans love it and me as a player going over there, I really enjoyed it too."

He added: "Everyone wants to get on the plane to go to England. It's the first trophy up for grabs in 2013 and we are definitely going to give it a good shake."

Hoffman, who is just three matches short of 200 NRL appearances for the Storm, said the English winter has to be taken into consideration.

"We are going to be there for two weeks," said Hoffman, who celebrates his 29th birthday on Australia Day on Saturday. "It's going to be cold and there is going to be a bit of snow but that's part of the joy of going to England in February.

"We will enjoy it and when we come back we are in Townsville for round two. These are all challenges but they are all challenges we are looking forward to. I am really excited. It's a fun trip. It breaks up your pre-season, too, knowing you have that bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It makes pre-season a bit more bearable."

But Hoffman says Melbourne will not be taking Leeds Rhinos lightly, and he added: "They are a team that has been in six of the last seven Grand Finals in the UK so they have definitely got some great players in Danny McGuire and skipper Kevin Sinfield, the Golden Boot winner.

"There's also Jamie Peacock. I played against him a couple of years ago and for a bloke of his age he's still playing really well so they have a really good side.

"We have formed a bit of a rivalry and with the last two world club championships we are one apiece. I think Melbourne and Leeds are similar in terms of their success over the past couple of years so it's all shaping up to be a big game."

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