LEEDS’ chief executive Gary Hetherington has been on a mission Down Under this week trying to sell this idea of an expanded World Club Challenge to the NRL clubs.

It always good to innovate, fly a kite for an idea and create talking points, but hopefully the proposals kicking around about six-club World Series will fail.

The current system is beautifully simple – the champions of NRL play the Super League winners to determine the best club side in the world. It does not need frothing up with extra teams of Grand Final runners up and hub cap winning also-rans to complicate and devalue it.

After last Friday night’s showdown at Headingley nobody in the rugby league world can argue that the Melbourne team of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith is not the best club side in the world.

It was a great game, a compelling spectacle and real battle played out before a boisterously partisan crowd. We don’t need a side dish to complement it. Nobody is that bothered whether our third best team is as good as the NRL’s.

And do we not remember the last time the concept was expanded, with the overblown World Club Championship in 1997 – a contest that that had such convoluted ‘positive discrimination’ rules to ensure European representatives in the knockout stages that it became a mockery.

Sure, there are aspects of the set-piece tussle between the champions from both sides of the world that can be embellished and tweaked a little bit.

In the interests of balance and to bolster the event’s credibility it should be alternated between the hemispheres. That would really help dispense with this idea that the Australians don’t really want to win it and it is simply a pre-season bonding, cold weather training exercise/shopping trip for them.

Although a packed Headingley has provided an excellent backdrop to the last two season’s games, is it right that we are now setting an upper limit of 20,000 on a game that has pulled in gates of 36,000 plus in the past? That figure is 57,000 if you throw in the time that Wigan won in Brisbane in 1994.

Maybe we need to start treating this game like rugby league’s other big finals, sell it to neutral floating fans who will decide whether to be patriotic and back a bitter domestic rival or become Storm, Broncos or Eels fans for the day.

The bigger we build it and the more the Aussies buy into it, the more prestigious the trophy will become.

There are small things within our grasp that can assist – namely the timing and venue. To do that the game should take place on a traditional finals day – Saturday – not on a day when folk have to rush back from work and at a stadium that can pack more in and make for a more prestigious occasion.

There is also a negative reason why I wouldn’t like a so-called big three to start building a World Series. It would further create an imbalance between the top teams from those at the middle and bottom. The Champions League in football has clearly distorted the Premiership, making it harder to challenge those whose coffers are enriched by being involved in the Euro showpiece event.

In rugby league salary cap has clearly failed to re-distribute the better players evenly throughout the 14 teams. Imagine if a self-perpetuating top three or four could then throw in the juicy carrot of a pre-season trip to Australia to entice quality young players from Castleford, Wakefield, Bradford and Widnes.