KRISTIAN Woolf would love to see his Super League winning Saints crop of 2021 take on the NRL premiers Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge.

But he accepts the difficulties caused by Covid restrictions, plus a busy domestic programme in a World Cup year would make it tough to fit in.

Saints, who have now won the Super League crown three years in a row, last played the Australian champions in 2020 when they took on Sydney Roosters.

Covid scuppered any plans this year – and it looks problematic slotting it in next year too.

Woolf said: “I would love to play Penrith in the World Club Challenge.

“But obviously there is still Covid around and still restrictions in Australia and they are still going through lockdowns over there.

“I am a real fan of the World Club Challenge. It is an outstanding concept and something I would love to see both sides of the world put a bit more time and attention to because it is the best of our competition and the best of the NRL.

“We would love nothing more than to play Penrith and I am sure they feel the same, but you have got to give somewhere.

“The competitions have to give a little bit to put these things in, particularly in a World Cup year.”

Woolf explained the scheduling – as well as the cloud of Covid and its restrictions – make slotting in this showpiece game difficult.

“I am pretty sure the draws have been put together for next year and there’s a lot of games of footy to play,” he said.

“It is going to be another one of those years where you are playing 30 odd games a year if you are going to win.

“That makes it really hard to throw things in and that is one of the difficulties of our sport.

“It is such a physical tough sport – there are so many things we’d love to throw in, but if we keep adding games on we are not going to get the best out of the players and we are going to break them in the process.”