Open main menu

The 1976 World Club Challenge was an unofficial trial of what would later become the World Club Challenge concept, with the 1975 NSWRFL season's premiers, Eastern Suburbs hosting the 1975–76 Northern Rugby Football League season's Premiership and Challenge Cup winners St. Helens. The one-off challenge match was played on the 29th of June, right in the middle of the 1976 NSWRFL season, at the Sydney Cricket Ground before a crowd of 26,856.[1]

1976 (1976) Unofficial World Club Challenge  ()
1 Total
EAS Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 0 25
ST H Saintscolours.svg 0 2
Date29 June 1976
StadiumSydney Cricket Ground
LocationMoore Park, Australia
Royce Ayliffe Eastern Suburbs colours.svg
RefereesGary Cook Australia
Broadcast partners
1987 →

The next game of its kind would not be played until 1987.


The game was the first of its type, and was the last to be played in Australia until 1994.

Eastern Suburbs RoostersEdit

The Roosters, coached by Jack Gibson and captained by Australian international forward Arthur Beetson, were the reigning Sydney premiers having won the NSWRFL Grand Finals in both 1974 and 1975.

St HelensEdit

Like the Roosters, Saints were the two time reigning English champions, having won the titles in 1974-75 and 1975-76. Saints were coached by former Great Britain captain Eric Ashton and captained by Welsh dual rugby international Kel Coslett.


Eastern Suburbs
St Helens
FB 1 Russell Fairfax
LW 2 Ian Schubert
CE 3 Mark Harris
CE 4 John Brass
RW 5 Bill Mullins
FE 6 Trevor Barnes
HB 7 Kevin Stevens
LK 8 Barry Reilly
SR 9 Arthur Beetson (c)
SR 10 Ian Mackay
PR 11 Royce Ayliffe
HK 12 Elwyn Walters
PR 13 Kel Jones
IC 14 Robert Laurie
IC 15 Johnny Mayes
IC 16 Grant Hedger
IC 17 Greg Townsend
  Jack Gibson
FB 1 Geoff Pimblett
RW 2 Les Jones
CE 3 Eddie Cunningham
CE 4 Derek Noonan
LW 5 Roy Mathias
SO 6 Billy Benyon
SH 7 Kenneth Gwilliam
PR 8 John Mantle
HK 9 Tony Karalius
PR 10 Kel Coslett (c)
SR 11 Eric Chisnall
SR 12 George Nicholls
LF 13 David Hull
IC 14 Peter Glynn
IC 15 Frank Wilson
IC 16 Jeff Heaton
IC 17 Mel James
  Eric Ashton

Match detailsEdit

29 June 1976
Eastern Suburbs Roosters   25 – 2   St. Helens
Russell Fairfax
Kevin Stevens
Royce Ayliffe
Ian Schubert
Greg Townsend
John Brass (5)

Pimblett (1)
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Attendance: 26,856
Referee: Gary Cook  
Man of the Match: Royce Ayliffe  


After winning the 1974 and 1975 Sydney premierships, Eastern Suburbs would not win another until 2002, while St Helens would go on to win a third English premiership in succession in 1976–77.

The next time Easts, now known as the Sydney Roosters, would play in a World Club Challenge was in 2003 where they would again face St Helens, the 2002 Super League champions at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, England. The result would be no different though as the Roosters defeated the Saints 38-0 in front of 19,807 fans.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the challenge, St Helens and the Sydney Roosters played a match as part of the 2016 World Club Series.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ HighBeam[dead link]
  2. ^ Clubs confirmed for 2016 World Club Series,, 8 October 2015

External linksEdit