Sydney Roosters show their NRL style to become the best club team on the planet with a 20-12 victory over St Helens in the World Club Challenge at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

It is an event that has been running since 1976 and no team other than Wigan – who are level – have won more WCCs than the Roosters as Saints became the next side to fall.

The 12th October 2019 will live in the fond memories of St Helens fan’s memories for years to come when they booked themselves a spot in today’s fixture with a comprehensive victory over the Salford Red Devils at Old Trafford.

While Sydney had to overcome a resolute Canberra side littered with English stars when they battled to a 14-8 victory in New South Wales.

And it didn’t take long for the now five-time world champions long to assert their dominance as Daniel Tupou and Joseph Manu registered a try in either corner to hold a narrow 8-6 victory at the break after Luke Thompson powered his way over with just six minutes on the clock.

Despite an inspired St Helens fight back after the break, their endeavour could not be rewarded as a stern Roosters line kept them out. Alex Walmsley crossed the whitewash in the dying stages, but it would be missed opportunities that started Saints’ downfall in the end as both Manu and Luke Keary ran over.

“I was very proud of the effort,” Woolf told the press.

“I thought our blokes tried really hard and I thought for large parts we were on top physically.

“The unfortunate thing was that we created plenty of opportunities and we did a very good job for the most part defensively, but we just couldn’t capitalise on that tonight,” he explained.

“We had a disallowed try just before half-time, a disallowed try just after and a couple of times we dropped the ball out of play, so you just have to take one of those, put some pressure on the opposition and you are looking at a really different game.”

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Still haunted by their 39-0 drubbing at the hands of South Sydney back in 2016, Saints were boosted by the return of much of their grand final winning side and didn’t take long to hit the front foot. Excellent play fed the ball down to the right, Theo Fages darted through the Roosters’ line to find an onrushing Thompson to touch down.

Despite the departures of Cooper Cronk and Latrell Mitchell in the off-season, Sydney held some quality in the depth of their ranks and it didn’t take the NRL champions long to add some points on the board themselves. Persistent pressure pushed the Saints back to their own try-line, the ball was then worked down the short side to Tupou, who expertly put down in the corner.

Just before the halfway point of the first-half, the visitors doubled their try-scoring tally. Fast hands by James Tedesco in the build-up had the hosts at sixes and sevens. Young fullback Jack Welsby produced a wonderful try-saving tackle to stop the Roosters in the first phase, but they were not so lucky moments later when Manu touched down on the short side.

Kyle Flanagan failed to add the extras to both early scores to give the Roosters a narrow two-point advantage just shy of the half-hour mark.

In a tight opening period, neither side was coughing up much for the opposition to capitalise on. Tommy Makinson’s flick offload fell forward after the great play in the middle, while the Roosters came inches from the Saints line, but the ball flicked over the dead-ball line.

An exceptional red and white line guarded the Roosters from the promised land in the dying embers of the first period, but the video referee was called into action with just minutes remaining when James Bentley dragged try-scorner Manu out of touch after a Jake Friend high-kick.

We wouldn’t be without drama in the remaining seconds, though. Makinson thought he had given the hosts the lead when he bulldozed over in the corner, but Chris Kendall shook his head, calling it back for a forward pass.

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The Club World Championship could be likened to a pantomime. Comes around once a year, attracts big crowds and there is always a villain in the piece, and when the video assistant referee adjudged that Makinson didn’t quite squeeze the ball over the line just after the break, it brought anguish amongst the home support.

It was the hosts who continued to press, but it was the visitors who commanded the points. Jonny Lomax and Fages were running the show and it was the halves pair who linked up well once again down the left, but the pass out wide drifted forward and ran over touch.

“I think for patches we were [better than them physically]” said Woolf.

“They’re a really physical pack and if you’re going to be in the contest you have to match them and I think that we did that.

“I think there were periods where we got on top and I think there were points where they got on top of us, it was a very even contest.”

Whatever was said in the St Helens half-time dressing room, Woolf’s words of wisdom were working wonders. However, despite a valiant second-half display, it was the Roosters who added to their lead. The ball worked along the line to Manu, who powered over for his second of the game.

A battling performance didn’t come close as the second period wore on and it was Trent Robinson’s side who turned on the syle. The ball popped up perfectly for Siosiua Taukeiaho, who split through the Saints’ defensive line and fed Keary, which left the stand-off to run through unchallenged.

Walmsley went over in the final few minutes to decrease the deficit to eight, however, it looked to be merely a consolation, with Sydney confirming their world champion status two years running.

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Attendance – 16,108

Image – Platy Photos – St Helens