Storm shaping up for World Club Challenge

Melbourne Storm has just over two weeks before leaving for England to take on Leeds in rugby leagues World Club Challenge. Storm General Manager Football, Frank Ponissi, talked to about the sides plans and player selection.

We have just over two weeks before we go (to the UK) and we will take 21 players over out of the NRL squad of 33, Ponissi said.

We are going for five days in London, the focus there will be to acclimatise to the weather and the time zones. From there we will head to Leeds and the training the players will do will go up another notch.

With Melbournes departure date nearing, so is the confirmation of Craig Bellamys squad who will travel to England to take on Leeds. With not all players travelling to England, some will continue their 2013 season preparations back in Melbourne.

There are still a few spots up for grabs and they will definitely be decided in the two trials, Ponissi said.

Also of importance is the schedule for the remaining players who dont travel to England for the World Club Challenge.

They will continue the normal training program, they will play with there feeder clubs either in Sydney or in Brisbane which is important because there is a good chance some of those players will be used for the first couple of rounds of the season, Ponissi said.

Melbourne has met Leeds in the World Club Challenge on two occasions previously, in 2008 and 2010 with the ledger evenly split at one game apiece.

In 2008, Leeds got the better of Melbourne in a low scoring encounter at Elland Road with the Rhinos claiming a seven-point victory. Craig Bellamys side managed to reverse the 2008 result to claim the title in 2010. In a tight contest, Storm managed to overcome a dogged Rhinos outfit with Cam Smith putting in a man of the match performance that included five goals.

The World Club Challenge between Melbourne and Leeds will be broadcast on GEM Digital platform (Ch 90), as part of the nine network broadcast coverage. The match kicks off at 7am AEST on Saturday 23 February.

You can be there to cheer on the team in Leeds, find out more about the corporate and supporter tours here