Top clubs to shun world challenge
RUGBY LEAGUE: A cash purse of $400,000 isn't enough of an incentive to lure the NRL's best teams from 2016 to England for the World Club Challenge.
Grand final winner Cronulla is locked in to play Super League champion Wigan, but none of the other top-eight clubs fancy the 35,000km round trip for the February series, just a month before the 2017 season begins.
The Storm, which would face Warrington in the runners-up clash, have cited unnecessary pressure on players and burn-out for its unwillingness, despite a $400,000 purse.
"We do have some serious concerns about travelling across to the other side of the world two weeks out from our season starting for what is effectively a trial match,” Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy told News Ltd.
"We've had two trials matches locked in for a long time and that may be a better option for us as we look to build into next season.”
The next team in line, third-placed Canberra, also has no interest, nor does North Queensland, which thrashed Leeds 38-4 in this year's World Club Challenge.
News Ltd reported the NRL and Super League had an agreement that two Australian teams must travel to England, but there isn't any stipulation on which team.
The NRL club to play the match will pocket $100,000 with the remaining $300,000 to cover costs.
The winner of the World Club Challenge will collect an extra $50,000.
The two games are scheduled for February 16 and 17 - less than two weeks after the Auckland Nines and while trial matches are scheduled.