IN any normal off-season champions Saints would have been mentally gearing up to take on NRL champions Melbourne Storm in the Betfred World Club Challenge at the start of the year.

It has not been ruled out completely, but given the impact of Covid across the world, meaning a late finish to the 2020 Super League campaign, the Betfred World Club Challenge will not go ahead in its usual February/March date in 2021.

Options to play the world head-to-head – which Saints last won in 2007 - are still being considered for later in the year.

But an already busy rugby league calendar in 2021, promptly followed by the Rugby League World Cup in October, are among the factors that will be considered in the rescheduling of the fixture.

Also thrown into the mix due to the ongoing effects of Covid-19 are the uncertainties around international travel - and that will also be taken into account.

If the World Club Challenge were not to go ahead it would deny Saints the opportunity to put right that last miserable night at Wigan in 2000 when the Storm handed Saints a 44-6 drubbing in front of a freezing-cold 13,000 crowd.

St Helens Star:

However, if it were to get cancelled, some may view it as a mixed blessing given the impact that this year’s preparations for the clash with Sydney Roosters had on Saints’ early season campaign.

The Betfred Super League season will start later than usual in 2021, in response to the extended 2020 campaign and our clubs’ requirements for a full pre-season.