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World champions St Helens to go down in history

After a thrilling 13-12 victory over the Penrith Panthers to win the World Club Challenge, St Helens have added another title to their extensive collection.

Having won four consecutive Super League Grand Finals and now becoming world champions, this St Helens side look set to go down as the best in rugby league history.

A thrilling spectacle Down Under, after being rated as 13/2 shots going into the World Club Challenge at BlueBet Stadium in Penrith on Saturday, St Helens looked to be up against it at the reigning NRL champions.

It was a baptism of fire for new head coach Paul Wellens, who has big shoes to fill following the departure of Kristian Woolf at the end of last season’s Grand Final success.

Saints got off to a tremendous start, with Jack Welsby and Konrad Hurrell going over to give the Super League champions a 10-0 lead.

Mark Percival stepped up with a penalty to extend Saints' lead, but tries from Izack Tago and Brian To'o saw the thrilling contest go into golden-point extra time.

With a moment that will go down in St Helens history, Lewis Dodd kicked the winning drop goal to secure a famous win in the outskirts of Sydney.

Dodd was delighted with the victory and felt his side proved a point with their success Down Under.

"They are the moments you dream of. I'm made up for the boys and the fans who have travelled all this way," he said. "The belief in the camp has always been there. We know how good we are and that's all that matters. We came here to prove a point, win, lose or draw, to show how good we are and I think we did that.

"Penrith showed their class, because at 12-0 down a lot of clubs would have crumbled, but Penrith are a really good side. You practice golden-point in training, it's muscle memory and you do that for moments like that."

The victory over Penrith means Saints have become the first Super League side to win the World Club Challenge in Australia since 1994 when Wigan Warriors beat the Brisbane Broncos.

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Saints to go down as the best

To win the World Club Challenge in Australia is the cherry on the cake for a St Helens side that have to go down as one of, if not the, best teams in rugby league history.

Having won the Super League title for the last four years, with different head coaches at the helm, Saints have dominated the competition in the northern hemisphere.

To then go and win in the backyard of the NRL champions is another feather in the cap for a St Helens side that have now edged ahead of some of the great sides.

The Wigan team of the mid-90s with the likes of Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah and Denis Betts is certainly up there.

The Leeds Rhinos side of 2015, with Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow and Jamie Peacock helping the club win a domestic treble, was a superb outfit.

But St Helens' sustained success and hunger to keep winning trophies means that many people will argue this squad tops them all.

Saints the team to beat once again

While Saints are yet to kick off their 2023 Super League campaign, there is no doubt the Merseyside outfit are the team to beat again this season.

Wellens may be inexperienced in the head coaching role but he can call upon a strong management team around him and leaders on the field to continue the club’s success.

The likes of skipper James Roby and fellow veteran Jonny Lomax are generals on the field and have been able to guide the younger players over the years. This campaign should be no different.

St Helens are 7/4 to win the Super League Grand Final this season, with last season's runners-up Leeds at 10/1 to go one better this time around.

Wigan are 7/2 to end their wait to get their hands on the trophy, while Catalans Dragons are 9/1 to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.

After the high of winning the World Club Challenge, Saints get their Super League campaign up and running on 26th February when they make the trip to West Yorkshire to take on the Castleford Tigers.

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