Super League should take more pride in itself, insists Wigan Warriors’ Matt Peet

<span>Wigan Warriors celebrate beating Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge. </span><span>Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images</span>
Wigan Warriors celebrate beating Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The Wigan Warriors coach, Matt Peet, has insisted Super League should take more pride in its own competition instead of comparing itself with the NRL after the Warriors helped secure back-to-back triumphs for English clubs in the World Club Challenge.

The Super League champions defeated the NRL premiers, Penrith Panthers, in a gripping contest at the DW Stadium, with Jake Wardle’s second-half try the difference in a 16-12 victory. Super League clubs have defeated their Australian counterparts in consecutive years for the first time since 2008, St Helens having defeated the same opposition last term.

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That has prompted some to question whether the gap between the two competitions is closing, with Penrith’s coach, Ivan Cleary, admitting that Super League’s best teams are now closer to the NRL. But Peet also suggested that Super League should focus on its own strengths. “I don’t think it is a matter of comparison,” he said. “Theirs is an unbelievable competition, but we’ve got a competition too. I don’t think it should be a matter of comparing the two.

“We know what we have got in this country. We should take more pride in it. We talk too much about what they think of us; we should just concern ourselves with what we think of ourselves. I am proud to be a rugby league man. I am proud of rugby league in the north-west of England. We shouldn’t shy away from what we are. I’m not too fussed about the NRL.”

Cleary insisted the gap was closing between Super League’s leading lights and Australian clubs. “We have always realised the top teams in Super League are very good,” he said. “The thing Super League struggles with is probably the depth.” Peet has been Wigan’s coach only since the beginning of 2022 but has secured every domestic trophy on offer in that time in 66 competitive matches.

The newly crowned world champions are favourites to win Super League in 2024 but Peet watered down any talk of this era being regarded as a dynasty on par with previous iconic Wigan squads. “I don’t like that word [dynasty],” he said. “I think it is a word someone should say after you have done it. We just want to learn and improve. The thought of that being our last big night would be horrendous.”