Rhin-woes could lead to Aussie domination

The Johnathan Thurston-led Cowboys are hot favourites at the World Club Challenge. Photo: AAP Image
The Johnathan Thurston-led Cowboys are hot favourites at the World Club Challenge. Photo: AAP Image

A string of injuries to an out-of-form Leeds points to Australian NRL clubs repeating last year's World Club Challenge series clean sweep in the UK.

In 2015, South Sydney posted a record 39-0 win over St Helens to claim the title of the world's best club side, while Brisbane and the Roosters also won their games in the series.

NRL premier North Queensland tackles Super League champions Leeds Rhinos for the title of top dog this year, with the Cowboys quoted at $1.25 and looking likely to threaten South Sydney's record score.

Leeds was belted 56-12 by Widnes at the weekend, and lost at least three more key players for Monday's showdown with North Queensland which will field its strongest line-up.

Already struggling with injuries to Danny McGuire, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Stevie Ward and new signing Beau Falloon, Leeds lost winger Tom Briscoe, fullback Ashton Golding and second-rower Carl Ablett with leg injuries before half-time in the 44-point loss.

An all-up Aussie super bet on the Sydney Roosters ($1.42) into Brisbane Broncos ($1.60) ending with the Cowboys is returning only $2.84, whereas if you fancy the three English clubs, an all-up bet on St Helen, Wigan and Leeds would net odds of $26.

Brisbane forward Jarrod Wallace, who missed last year's series after undergoing shoulder surgery, said he was hoping for a big crowd when the Broncos play the Wigan Warriors on Sunday.

"I couldn't play last year, but I'm really to keen to get out and have a crack this time. I hope they get a big, noisy crowd," he said via video.

In other league news Manly's Martin Taupau has escaped a charge for a dubious tackle on Dane Gagai in Saturday's All Stars clash.

Topics:  north queensland cowboys nrl rugby league

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