England coach Wayne Bennett has pledged Brisbane’s backing for the 2017 World Club Series.
Plans for the annual clash between the leading clubs from Super League and the NRL were thrown into disarray earlier this week when Melbourne officially withdrew.
Their lack of interest was quickly matched by several rival NRL clubs, who claimed it interfered with their preparations for the NRL season.
Wigan and Cronulla, the two 2016 Grand Final winners, will meet in the traditional World Club Challenge at the DW Stadium on the weekend of February 16-17.
However, uncertainty surrounds the other two scheduled ties in the recently-expanded World Club Series following the snub from beaten NRL grand finalists Melbourne, who were due to play Super League runners-up Warrington.
Brisbane had offered to host Wigan if they had lost the Super League Grand Final and Bennett, a long-time advocate of the international game, says he has already been in touch with Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood to reassure him of his club’s commitment to the series.
“We would be keen to travel,” Bennett said.
“I spoke to Nigel on Monday night and told him that the whole concept has got the club’s backing.
“We love coming over, we’ve enjoyed it in the last couple of years as a club and we’re also trying to host one (in Brisbane) in the pre-season. But if that doesn’t come to fruition and there’s a vacancy to come over to England we will certainly go.
“The other clubs have all got their reasons I’m sure, but we don’t find it interferes with our season really.
“We’ve played in a grand final, gone over for the World Club Series and started the following year well, so I can’t find a fault with it. Personally I’d be extremely disappointed if we shared the same view.”