St Helens CEO Mike Rush admits while it would be “huge” for his club to win its third World Club Challenge crown and beat the Roosters on Saturday, he knows Saints are in for massive test.
St Helens and the Roosters lock horns at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Saturday night. The English side have played in six World Club Challenges previously, winning two of them, with their last trophy coming in 2007.
Saints last played in the Super League vs NRL contest in 2015, where they were thrashed by South Sydney. To topple the Roosters, back-to-back champions down under, would be no mean feat.
“Of course it would,” Rush said.
“But you have to earn the right. The players have to go out defend every scrap, fight for their lives as best as they can, and hopefully four games in we’ve got a bit of a feeling how we’re going.
“But it’s always going to be hard. It can go either way.
“You have to work hard to get these occasions, you enjoy them when you’ve got them. You appreciate what the players have done to get the club to be part of it.
“Certainly we’re not going to take it for granted.”
The Roosters and St Helens have met twice in the World Club Challenge before – in the inaugural match in 1976 and back in 2003 – with the Australian outfit winning both occasions.
Rush said there is a lot of mutual respect between the two clubs.
“The Roosters are a great side,” he said.
“I’ve know Robbo for probably 10 years. He’s a great fella, I’ve got a lot of time and respect for him.
“I know he thinks highly of the work we do, just like we do of the work he does. There’s a lot of mutual respect with the Roosters, myself and Joe Kelly go back a long way.
“I get on really well with Nick Politis and Daniel Anderson is at the Roosters now as well. It’s a little bit off-putting when you get home an your four-year-old is wearing a Roosters shirt in the week of the game, but look adoption can be made available and he can be shipped out for sure.”
Rush said Saints are hoping for a sellout on Saturday, with the Totally Wicked Stadium’s capacity 18,000, and some harsh weather conditions to impact the Roosters.
“The challenge [for a sellout] is always the east stand, the away end,” he said.
“We’ve just got to push hard, get it sold out and make it loud and intimidating. I want to see wind, rain, snow.
“I’ve booked a hurricane and a tornado for just after half-time. If we get all that weather it just might throw them off a little bit, and you take all the home advantage you can get.”