Warrington coach Tony Smith has called on his players to give the club’s fans a night to remember by beating Brisbane in the World Club Series on Saturday (Sunday 0630 AEDT).
The Broncos are unbeaten on their previous two visits to England, overcoming Wigan in 2015 and 2016 but Warrington have the advantage of a competitive game under their belts with the Super League season kicking off last week.
Leeds’ win over Manly in 2012 is the last time an English side got the better of their NRL rivals and the local supporters, still getting over the disappointment of the hosts’ tame performances in last year’s Four Nations, are desperate to see a victory.
The tournament has been largely derided in Australia with Brisbane the only team willing to take part along with NRL premiers Cronulla, who play Wigan for the World Club Challenge trophy, on Sunday.
However, it’s taken hugely seriously by the Super League teams and Smith, brother of veteran former NRL coach Brian Smith, said success is vital to maintaining the long-term survival of the game.
“Some teams don’t want to be part of it but we certainly do,” Smith said.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to shine for Super League if we can. A couple of years ago we were just a little short against St George.
“I think it’s good for the English public because in years gone by, the only chance of your club playing against Australia was on tours when the Kangaroos came over.
“It’s about young kids remembering in 10 or 15 years’ time when Warrington played the Brisbane Broncos.
“I have people tell me about the times Warrington played Australia and New Zealand when they toured, it becomes etched in your memory and I think it will for this generation too.”
Warrington will give a debut to England international five-eighth Kevin Brown which is likely to see former NSW and Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley switch to fullback in the continued absence of Stefan Ratchford.
Former Gold Coast outside back Matty Russell revert to the wing outside Rhys Evans, who will take the place of injured centre Toby King.
Veteran forward Ben Westwood returns for his first game since the Challenge Cup final at Wembley last August after recovering from pectoral and shoulder surgery.