7pm. Sunday. Clear your diary, go and get a ticket. If you can’t get a ticket, get the sofa booked now. The Betfred World Club Challenge is here and you do not want to miss this. 

The very best that Rugby League has to offer from both sides of the equator are coming head to head in Wigan (5/2 to win) as the Betfred Super League Champions taking on the reigning kings of the NRL, the Sydney Roosters (2/7 to win).

The two squad lists read like a who’s who of some of the brightest talent in the game, a yellow pages of club legends on both sides, and an all you can eat buffet of players who can the change the course of the game, and write their names in rugby league folklore at any given moment.

Throw in the presence of an immortal in the peerless Cooper Cronk, and what you have is the makings of an absolute epic on Sunday evening.

There is no bigger honour in club rugby, the opportunity to call yourselves World Champions, and for the Betfred Super League, and opportunity to stick one in the eye of our slick, cock-sure cousins from down under.

For the NRL Premiers, well this is it. Everyone talks of that competition as being the pinnacle of rugby league football. Time to prove it lads.

The stage is set, and what a stage it is. A packed DW Stadium on a cold February night. The great leveller. We’ve seen great sides before, arrive as champions, and crumble under the baying noise and expectation of that crowd.

Of course Sydney are no strangers to volatile crowds, they’ve played Grand Finals, have a stable of Australian Internationals and Origin representatives, they’ve been here before. But come 7pm on Sunday night, you’ll be able to light a match from the very electricity in the air. The Betfred World Club Challenge is no place for the faint hearted.

So where will this game be won and lost?

There will be spikes on the richter scale when these two forward packs come together. Boyd Cordner broke English hearts in the 2017 World Cup Final, and he’ll not be too fussed about forgiveness this weekend. Alongside the likes of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Isaac Liu, this Sydney front 6 will need constant attention if Wigan to have any element of control.

Wigan won’t be imitated by this. Ben Flower and the ever-green Shaun O’Loughlin certainly know how to handle themselves, whilst Taulima Tautai and Joe Greenwood have been there, and done it in the NRL.

If Wigan can keep the lid on Sydney in the middle and neutralise, or even win the ruck, then it really is game on. The Cherry and White back-line is busting with strike weapons.

They may be with Dom Manfredi and Joe Burgess, but any combination of Tom Davies, Oliver Gildart, Liam Marshall (12/1 first tryscorer) and Zak Hardaker has the potential to punish Sydney from anywhere on the paddock. If this game comes down a footrace, don’t be counting your winnings until the final furlong is finished.

The Sydney back-line is itself, a volatile powder keg. In the Halves, the most intelligent footballer on the planet, Cronk, is paired by his own heir apparent to the Australia jersey in Luke Keary, and when they swing it wide Brett Morris and James Tedesco (8/1 first tryscorer) will need constant attention. Win the individual battles in the three-quarter line, and maybe, just maybe win the game.

There could also be another fascinating sub-plot playing out on Sunday. Sydney Roosters Legend Adrian Lam is of course now Wigan Head Coach, but his Son Lachlan may well be in the opposition dug-out. The Half-back is in the Sydney 19 man squad, and could well find himself with a spot on the interchange bench.

Sydney’s NRL pedigree is enough to earn them the favourites tag, but this is far from a for-gone conclusion. We’re well due a classic in the Betfred World Club Challenge. This could well be it.