The NRL has released the 2024 NRL pre-season draw, with one very notable absence paving the way for what is sure to be an upcoming announcement.
The greatest Rugby League team of the modern era, three-peat Premiers the Penrith Panthers will not take part in the NRL pre season challenge. This likely means that they Panthers look all but set to head over to England in early 2024 and play Wigan who won the 2023 Super League title over the Catalan Dragons.
There was some suggestions the Panthers should face Wigan in Las Vegas as part of the NRL’s move to kick off the 2024 season in the United States, and I suggested that Wigan fly over mid 2024 and play against the Penrith Panthers during the 2024 NRL Magic Round, but it seems none of that will happen and once again the World Club Challenge will be reduced to a pre season game in February.
Honestly, the news is a bit disappointing. Instead of trying to make something of this clash it will just be another trial game that few put any value in.
I think both Wigan and Penrith would both have wanted more than that from this contest.