It’s day three of 15 days for #Saints150, so we look back at the three times St Helens have been crowned Club World Champions.
St Helens 20-18 Brisbane Broncos – Friday 26thy January
As back-to-back Super League champions in 1999 and 2000, the Saints wanted to claim their first world title with a win over the NRL’s best, spurred on by a World Club Challenge loss to Melbourne in the year of the millennium.
The Brisbane Broncos were the visitors to these shores and the competition was played at Bolton Reebok Stadium (now known as Taftsheet Community Stadium). It was an exciting movie. The Broncos led 18-6 at the break, with Paul Sculthorpe scoring the Red V’s first try with a brilliant dribble under the visitors’ defence.
With the team behind him, Shun Long sparked the fight with an elaborate move that allowed him to run into space. The midfielder then passed the ball to the left edge for Paul Newlove to break the line and pass the ball inside for captain Chris Joynt to equalize for Saints.
With less than seven minutes to go, Sculthorpe scored to give St Helens the advantage, before Long wrapped up the game for our club’s first ever world title with another one-pointer.
St Helens 18-14 Brisbane Broncos – Friday 23rdResearch and development February
2006 is the year Saints fans will always remember, as they won a historic treble: the Challenge Cup, the League Leaders’ Shield and the Premier League title under manager Daniel Anderson. The Saints seem unstoppable.
Wayne Bennett’s Brisbane returned to the UK and once again faced the Red V in Bolton, with the Saints once again unimpressed by some after a slower start to the new campaign. Ade Gardener didn’t take a cross bomb near the line allowing the Broncos to get the advantage through Corey Parker’s converted try, and they followed it up by converting a penalty as well.
Classic Saints played by moving the ball out which allowed Gardner to get a little compensation for his earlier mistake heading into the second half.
Brisbane struck again despite the break with another kick but it was taken cleanly by the Broncos’ Darius Boyd this time. The game was fast paced, with Paul Sculthorpe leveling the scores from Kieron Cunningham’s pass near the goal line, but another penalty for Bennett’s men put them back in front.
Near the 70-minute mark, captain Sean Long unleashed a Hail Mary-like bomb down the right wing and Gardner outran the opposition men and went straight down the stretch to score his second goal, the game-winning score.
Penrith Panthers 12-13 St Helens – Saturday 18thy February
After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, St Helens will finally return to the world stage after claiming a fourth successive Premier League title in 2022. The challenge was huge, as they faced what many consider one of the greatest NRL teams of all time, a title-winning The then successive Penrith Panthers.
Adding to the difficulty, the Saints traveled to Australia for the match in the hope of becoming the first team to defeat an Australian team in the country in the summer rugby league era.
Much of the talk in the build-up to the match was about the weather, with kick-off even being postponed due to safety concerns due to the heat and humidity in western Sydney – but both sides were focused on making a piece of history.
The first half was a dream for Saints, with conditions throughout seeing torrential rain and thunderstorms with lightning adding to the drama on the pitch. Curtis Sironen got on the end of Jonny Lomax’s late pass to break the Panthers’ streak. He passed to Jack Welsby for the opening points. Tommy Makinson also added the conversion.
Greatest of All Time Captain James Roby started a short play ten meters out, Welsby fired a short ball to Conrad Horrell who brought down the home side’s defense to set up Red V’s second goal and a 10-0 lead.
In the second half, with Makinson now sidelined due to HIA protocols, Mark Percival took over kicking duties and kicked a penalty. But Penrith responded with a goal from Isaac Tagoe and Brian Toe scored in the last minute to level the game and we went to extra time.
With the tension high and the next points being the winning points, Lewis Dodd received Robbie’s trademark perfect pass to score over the drop goal and send Saints into dreamland. Making history, the third Club World Championship for our club!