World Club Challenge is a shot in the arm for British game
St Helens’ World Club Challenge victory over NRL champions Penrith Panthers is a shot in the arm for the British game according to Hull boss Tony Smith.
Paul Wellens’ side claimed a 13-12 victory in Australia, with Lewis Dodd kicking the winning drop-goal in golden point extra time.
It saw St Helens go unbeaten during their trip Down Under, defeating St George Illawarra Dragons 30-18 the week before in the NRL pre-season challenge.
Speaking on Monday’s Super League Show, new Hull boss Smith was full of praise for the Super League champions. The 56-year-old coach also believed it wasn’t a surprise to see St Helens claim the World Club Challenge title for fans this side of the world, despite views of the NRL competition being the dominant of the two full-time leagues.
“The way they played didn’t surprise too many of us” – Tony Smith
“I think the smart people have realised that there’s a lot of good things that happen here,” Smith told Tanya Arnold.
“A lot of good players and a lot of good competition goes on and the smart ones already look over here and recruit from here from time to time.
“Listen, it’s a shot in the arm for the British game and for Super League, it really is.
“They’ve done remarkably well there. I don’t think it surprised too many of us.
“I think we’ve all realised here that they’re the benchmark of the British game at the moment.
“We’re all out chasing them and you know the way they played didn’t surprise too many of us. For the smart ones in Australia, it didn’t surprise them.
“There’s a few that probably don’t regard it, but it’ll make them sit up and take a bit more notice. But we can’t rest on our laurels at the same time.
“I think it’s really important for us all to start producing a lot of good players, coming through the juniors. And that’s what they’ve been doing there at St Helens for so many years.”
Tony Smith says the smart people in Australia were not surprised by @saints1980 World Club Challenge win pic.twitter.com/ElfZgmMPsZ
— Super League Show (@SuperLeagueShow) February 20, 2023
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