A golden point field goal from Lewis Dodd has seen St Helens defeat the Panthers 13-12 to claim the 2023 World Club Challenge on Saturday night at BlueBet Stadium.
After Penrith scored to force golden point with less than two minutes to play, it was Dodd – who earlier had missed a potential game-sealing field goal in normal time – who kicked his side to victory.
Trailing 12-6 with less than two minutes to play, Penrith scored through Brian To’o before Nathan Cleary nailed a clutch conversion in soaking conditions to force golden point.
Led by the brilliance of fullback Jack Welsby, who backed up his star showing in last week’s Pre-season Challenge victory over the Dragons with a near perfect opening 40 minutes, St Helens led 12-0 early in the second half, before the Panthers powered back.
The first edition of the clash held since 2020 due to the pandemic, it promised to be a quality battle of each hemisphere’s best, and didn’t disappoint.
While the expected 40-degree kick-off temperature had dominated the pre-match discussion, it was torrential rain which greeted both sides at BlueBet Stadium, with the start of the second half delayed due to lightning strikes.
Welsby saved tries on two separate occasions with last-ditch tackles, in between scoring the first four-pointer of the match, before laying on his side’s second try with a pass to former Warrior and Titan Konrad Hurrell.
Seven minutes after St Helens pushed their lead out to 12 early in the second half, the NRL premiers got on the board through Izack Tago, who chased down a Cleary kick to score, and after Cleary’s conversion the deficit was cut in half.
A Welsby dropped kick led to To’o scoring with less than two minutes to play, followed by a clutch Cleary conversion to force golden point.
But a dropped ball with their second set in golden point put the Panthers under immense pressure, and from there Dodd became the match winner.