PENRITH, Australia (AP) — Lewis Dodd kicked a field goal in golden-point extra time to give St. Helens a 13-12 win over the Penrith Panthers on Saturday to claim the 2023 World Cup Challenge.
The English Super League champions missed two attempts at field goals in regulation time and blew a 12-6 lead with just over a minute to go, when Penrith equalized with a try out wide to winger Brian To’o that was converted by Nathan Cleary to force the match into extra time.
It was the first World Club Challenge held since 2020 and gave Penrith the opportunity to add another trophy following its dominance of Australia’s National Rugby League competition since that time.
St. Helen’s fullback Jack Welsby was instrumental in getting his team to an early advantage when he saved two tries with desperate defense, scored the opening try of the match in the 8th minute and had a hand in the team’s second try to Konrad Hurrell in the 15th.
The visitors led 10-0 at halftime and, after the resumption of play was delayed by 10 minutes because of lightning, extended it to 12 with a Mark Percival penalty goal.
Izack Tago crossed for Penrith in the 50th minute to start the comeback and when To'o scored late, momentum was going the way of the hosts.
Instead, it was St. Helens which became the first British team to win the title on Australian soil since Wigan in 1994. The narrow loss extended Penrith's wait for the World Cup Challenge title after it lost to Wigan in 1991 and to Bradford in 2004.
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