History set to be made this Sunday
Leeds Rhinos and North Queensland Cowboys are both trying to write their names in the record books this Sunday with Leeds looking to set a new record for victories whilst the Cowboys are looking to join an elite group of Australian clubs who have called themselves World Champions.
Leeds Rhinos are seeking a new stand-alone record of four World Club Challenge wins on Sunday night, in their record seventh appearance in the fixture.
The Rhinos were crowned World Club Champions in 2005 (39-32 against the Bulldogs), 2008 (11-4 against Melbourne Storm) and 2012 (26-12 against Manly Sea Eagles). They tasted defeat against Manly Sea Eagles in 2009 (28-20) and against Melbourne Storm in both 2010 (18-10) and 2013 (18-14).
Bradford Bulls (2002, 2004, 2006), Melbourne Storm (2000, 2010, 2013) and Wigan Warriors (1987, 1991, 1994) are the other clubs with three previous World Club Challenge wins.
The first four of Leeds' previous World Club Challenge appearances were all at Elland Road (2005 & 2008-2010), with Sunday's game marking their third appearance in the fixture at Headingley Carnegie.
Rhinos trio Rob Burrow, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Danny McGuire have played in all six of Leeds' previous World Club Challenges. However, only Burrow looks set to continue as an ever-present – with Jones-Buchanan and McGuire to be ruled out through injury.
Burrow is also set to equal Jamie Peacock's record of seven World Club Challenge appearances on Sunday – and with victory would also draw level with his former teammates' total of four wins in the fixture.
Leeds' Adam Cuthbertson is set to feature in his second World Club Challenge – having previously played against the Rhinos in Manly Sea Eagles' victory at Elland Road in 2009.
North Queensland duo Rory Kostjasyn (2010) and Justin O'Neill (2013) also each have one World Club Challenge appearance against Leeds, having both featured in previous Melbourne Storm wins in the fixture.
Brian McDermott takes charge of his third World Club Challenge with the Rhinos on Sunday – and previously played in Bradford Bulls' 41-26 victory against Newcastle Knights in 2002.
Leeds Rhinos qualified for this year’s World Club Challenge by beating Wigan Warriors 22-20 in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, Manchester, on 10 October, 2015. Attendance: 73,512.
Rhinos: Zak Hardaker, Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Kevin Sinfield (Captain), Danny McGuire, Mitch Garbutt, Rob Burrow, Jamie Peacock, Carl Ablett, Brett Delaney, Brad Singleton. Subs (all used): Kylie Leuluai, Adam Cuthbertson, Jimmy Keinhorst, Josh Walters.
Tries: McGuire 2, Moon, Walters; Goals: Sinfield 3.
Man of the Match: Danny McGuire won the Harry Sunderland Trophy.
North Queensland Cowboys qualified for this year’s World Club Challenge by beating Brisbane Broncos 17-16 (after golden point extra-time) in the NRL Premiership Grand Final at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, on 4 October, 2015. Attendance: 82,758.
Cowboys: Lachlan Coote, Kyle Feldt, Justin O’Neill, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Michael Morgan, Johnathan Thurston (Co-Captain), Matt Scott (Co-Captain), Jake Granville, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Ethan Lowe, Jason Taumalolo. Subs (all used): Rory Kostjasyn, John Asiata, Scott Bolton, Ben Hannant.
Tries: O’Neill, Tamou, Feldt; Goals: Thurston 2; Field goal: Thurston.
Man of the Match: Johnathan Thurston won the Clive Churchill Medal.
WORLD CLUB CHALLENGE HISTORY
The first World Club Championship/Challenge match was on Tuesday, 29 June 1976 when Eastern Suburbs (now Sydney Roosters) beat St Helens 25-2 at the Sydney Cricket Ground before a crowd of 26,856. The Saints had won the Premiership in 1975-76, while Easts were the 1975 Australian Premiership Grand Final winners.
The one-off match was given little official status and there were no further meetings between the countries’ top teams until Wigan met and beat Manly 8-2 at Central Park on 7 October 1987 in the re-styled World Club Challenge. Wigan qualified as the 1986-87 Division One champions and Manly as Australia’s Minor Premiership (league leaders) winners, although they did win the Grand Final just 10 days before meeting Wigan.
The World Club Challenge was given full International Board recognition in 1989 and was played at irregular intervals up to 1994 between the British champions and Australia’s Grand Final winners.
In 1997 there was a Super League World Club Championship involving 22 clubs. There was a gap of a few years before the World Club Challenge was restored in 2000 with a match between Britain and Australia’s Grand Final winners.
British clubs have won 12 of the 21 World Club Challenge matches since 1987.
World Club Challenge 1987-2015
7/10/87 Wigan 8 Manly 2 (Central Park, Wigan) Attendance: 36,895
10/10/89 Widnes 30 Canberra 18 (Old Trafford, Manchester) Attendance: 30,786
2/10/91 Wigan 21 Penrith 4 (Anfield, Liverpool) Attendance: 20,152
30/10/92 Brisbane 22 Wigan 8 (Central Park, Wigan) Attendance: 17,746
1/6/94 Wigan 20 Brisbane 14 (ANZ Stadium, Brisbane) Attendance: 54,220
22/1/00 Melbourne 44 St Helens 6 (JJB Stadium, Wigan) Attendance: 13,394
26/1/01 St Helens 20 Brisbane 18 (Reebok Stadium, Bolton) Attendance: 16,041
1/2/02 Bradford 41 Newcastle 26 (McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield) Attendance: 21,113
14/2/03 Sydney Roosters 38 St Helens 0 (Reebok Stadium, Bolton) Attendance: 19,807
13/2/04 Bradford 22 Penrith 4 (McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield) Attendance: 18,962
4/2/05 Leeds 39 Bulldogs 32 (Elland Road, Leeds) Attendance: 37,028
3/2/06 Bradford 30 Wests Tigers 10 (Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield) Attendance: 19,207
23/2/07 St Helens 18 Brisbane 14 (Reebok Stadium, Bolton) Attendance: 23,207
29/2/08 Leeds 11 Melbourne 4 (Elland Road, Leeds) Attendance: 33,204
1/3/09 Manly 28 Leeds 20 (Elland Road, Leeds) Attendance: 32,569
28/2/10 Melbourne 18 Leeds 10 (Elland Road, Leeds) Attendance: 27,697
27/2/11 St George Illawarra 21 Wigan 15 (DW Stadium, Wigan) Attendance: 24,268
17/2/12 Leeds 26 Manly 12 (Headingley Carnegie, Leeds) Attendance: 21,062
22/2/13 Melbourne 18 Leeds 14 (Headingley Carnegie, Leeds) Attendance: 20,400
22/2/14 Sydney Roosters 36 Wigan 14 (Allianz Stadium, Sydney) Attendance: 31,515
22/2/15 South Sydney 39 St Helens 0 (Langtree Park, St Helens) Attendance: 17,980
Brisbane Broncos beat Hunter Mariners 36-12 at Ericsson Stadium, Auckland, in the 1997 Super League World Club Championship final following a competition involving 22 clubs. The attendance was 12,000.