St Helens clinch World Club Challenge with golden point win over Penrith
Lewis Dodd kicked St Helens to a golden point victory over Penrith Panthers to win the World Club Challenge in Sydney.
Saints looked set for heartbreak after a late try from Brian To’o helped the double defending NRL champions force the extra period with less than 90 seconds left on the clock.
But the visitors set up Dodd to boot the decisive kick and seal a 13-12 win as Saints became only the second Super League team to win the prestigious tournament on Australian soil.
It completed a stunning performance from Saints, who went into the game as heavy underdogs and lost the talismanic Tommy Makinson midway through the first half following a head injury assessment.
🌍 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗟𝗗 𝗖𝗟𝗨𝗕 𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗠𝗣𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦 🏆
St Helens have made history, beating Penrith Panthers in their own backyard to secure a #WorldClubChallenge victory! #COYS | #HistoryInTheMaking pic.twitter.com/zMguyOZ8Jk
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) February 18, 2023
Early tries from Jack Welsby and Konrad Hurrell put them in the ascendency before a brilliant defensive display kept the Penrith response at bay in a second half that was briefly delayed due to a tropical storm.
Welsby finished off a rousing 75-yard surge for the opener and Makinson added the conversion before Hurrell barged over to put Saints 10 points clear.
Penrith, winners of 25 of their previous 27 games at the BlueBet Stadium, looked out of sorts and Mark Percival added two more points to Saints’ tally with a penalty early in the second period.
Izack Tago finally got Penrith on the board and Cleary’s conversion put them in sight, but the hosts failed to exploit mounting pressure while Saints missed two drop-goal attempts from Welsby and Dodd that threatened to cost them dear.
To’o went over with barely a minute remaining to threaten to shatter Saints’ history-making attempt, but Paul Wellens’ men regrouped and after a spill by Jarome Luai handed Saints their chance, Dodd made no mistake with his second attempt to secure a famous win.