St Helens' World Club Challenge history
Watch Super League champions St Helens take on NRL premiers Sydney Roosters in this year's World Club Challenge on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 7pm
By Marc Bazeley
Last Updated: 22/02/20 8:06pm
St Helens take part in a World Club Challenge match for the sixth time on Saturday evening when NRL champions Sydney Roosters visit the Totally Wicked Stadium.
The sides have met several times in this match down the years, including in the unofficial match between the British and Australian champions way back in the mid-1970s.
Here, we take a look at those matches and Saints' other previous clashes with the cream of Australian rugby league…
1976 - Eastern Suburbs 25-2 St Helens
Although not officially recognised as such, this encounter at the Sydney Cricket Ground has come to be viewed by many as the first World Club Challenge match which took place at part of St Helens' three-match tour Down Under.
Having followed up being crowned league champions the previous year with a haul of the Premiership, Challenge Cup and Floodlit Trophy, a Saints side coached by Eric Ashton and captained by Kel Coslett broke new ground by heading to Australia at the end of the 1975/76 season.
The tour included matches against a Queensland Rugby League XIII and Auckland, but the headline attraction was the clash with reigning NSWRL premiers Eastern Suburbs - now known as Sydney Roosters.
Much like the present-day Roosters, the Easts team led by no-nonsense skipper Arthur Beetson and overseen by head coach Jack Gibson went into the game having won back-to-back championships, although Ashton was in confident mood.
"If we hit the form in Australia that we showed in the last month of the English season we have nothing to fear," Ashton told the Sydney Morning Herald ahead of the encounter.
But it was Easts who emerged triumphant in front of 26,856 fans at the SCG, with Russell Fairfax, Kevin Stevens, Royce Ayliffe, Ian Schubert and Greg Townsend all scoring tries in the 25-2 win.
Saints' only points came from a goal by Geoff Pimblett and the concept of a clash between the British and Australian champions would not be revived for another 11 years when Wigan defeated Manly-Warringah 8-2.
2000 - Melbourne Storm 44-6 St Helens
Sporadic matches followed that 1987 clash at Central Park, but it was not until the turn of the century that the World Club Challenge became an annual event and it was again St Helens who featured in the first of those.
The 1999 Super League champions would face Melbourne Storm, a team which had joined the NRL just two years earlier and enjoyed a rapid rise to the top after defeating St George Illawarra Dragons 20-18 in the 1999 Grand Final.
A team containing the likes of Brett Kimorley, Robbie Kearns and future Super League star Marcus Bai headed to these shores in January for the clash at Wigan's JJB Stadium, and would ultimately prove too strong for Ellery Hanley's men.
Storm full-back Robbie Ross and stand-off Scott Hill scored two tries apiece as the Australian side ran out 44-6 winners, with Aaron Moule, Bai, Wayne Evans and Dane Morgan all crossing as well.
A converted try from Sean Hoppe was all St Helens had to show for their efforts, but it would be a different story when they returned to the showpiece game the following year.
2001 - St Helens 20-18 Brisbane Broncos
Consecutive Super League Grand Final triumphs saw St Helens book their place in the second of the annual World Club Challenge encounter as well, where their opponents would be Brisbane Broncos.
The Broncos had already tasted glory on the world stage before this match-up having beaten Wigan in the 1992 clash and won the 1997 World Club Championship, which featured all the teams from the European and Australian Super League competitions.
Unlike the previous year, the match at Bolton's Reebok Stadium proved to be an absolute thriller which was not decided until the closing stages.
The Broncos led 12-6 at half time, with tries from Shaun Berrigan and Phillip Lee sandwiching an effort from Saints loose forward Paul Sculthorpe. However, the tables were turned after the break.
Brisbane pushed further in front when play resumed through Brad Myers, only for Sean Long to start the Saints revival with a try followed by Chris Joynt being sent rampaging away from an inside pass by Paul Newlove for the score which levelled things up.
Sculthorpe then booted St Helens ahead from a drop goal with just under eight minutes to go and Long put the seal on the club's first World Club Challenge triumph inside the final two minutes with another from 25 metres out.
2003 - Sydney Roosters 38-0 St Helens
Appearing in their third World Club Challenge match in four seasons, Saints returned to the Reebok Arena to face Sydney Roosters 27 years on from the first meeting between the sides in Australia.
Much like the 1976 match, the Roosters proved far too strong for the Super League champions and kept them scoreless en route to a 38-0 triumph.
Man of the match Craig Fitzgibbon got the Australians up and running with three penalties and then scored the opening try of the game on 34 minutes, followed by Great Britain international Adrian Morley going over to put the Roosters 18-0 up at half time.
There was no let-up from the visitors after the break and Todd Byrne ran in their third try after Brett Fitch appeared to knock the ball forward in the build-up, only for the video referee to decide there was no knock-on.
Brad Fittler, with a try from an interception, and Todd Payten added two more tries, while Fitzgibbon kicked a further penalty to take his personal haul for the match to 20 points - a new individual record for the World Club Challenge.
2007 - St Helens 18-14 Brisbane Broncos
Saints' next World Club Challenge appearance came on the back of them sweeping all before them in 2006, lifting both the Super League title and the Challenge Cup, with Daniel Anderson's side having their eyes on an historic treble.
Their opponents in Bolton were Brisbane, who they defeated at the same venue six years earlier and arrived in England without integral components of the side which were crowned NRL champions due to Shane Webcke retiring, Casey Maguire joining Catalans Dragons and David Stagg being absent.
Even so, Broncos head coach Wayne Bennett still had plenty of talent at his disposal and the Queenslanders took the lead through a converted try from Corey Parker, who also kicked a penalty.
A converted try from Sculthorpe brought Saints back into the match, making it 8-6 to Brisbane at half-time, but as with their previous meeting the Broncos were first to score in the second half after Darius Boyd latched onto a kick from Darren Lockyer.
Sculthorpe's second try brought St Helens level and although another penalty from Parker edged the Broncos back in front, the result was sealed in the 70th minute when Ade Gardner out-jumped the defence to score from Long's high kick.
2015 - South Sydney 39-0 St Helens
Played as part of an expanded World Club Series which saw Cronulla Sharks defeat Warrington Wolves 18-12 and Brisbane overcome Wigan Warriors 14-12, Super League champions Saints took on South Sydney Rabbitohs in the main event.
A Souths side containing English brothers George and Tom Burgess managed to overwhelm the hosts 39-0, and they were ahead as early as the second minute when Glenn Stewart crossed for the first of their seven tries.
Joel Reddy added two more for the Rabbitohs, while Dylan Walker, Greg Inglis, Luke Keary and Chris McQueen got one apiece and Adam Reynolds topped things off with a late drop goal.
George Burgess capped off a memorable night by being named man of the match for his display as well, while St Helens would go on to feature in the World Club Series the following year where they were beaten 38-12 by the Roosters.