World Club Challenge set to be a fizzer

The World Club Challenge between Brisbane and the English club champion threatens to degenerate into a farce with most of the Broncos premiership-winning side set to miss the match.

Broncos boss Bruno Cullen plans to give his representative players an eight week holiday following their Tri Nations commitments, with the final scheduled for November 25. That means they won't be back on deck until just a few days before the annual match between the NRL champions and English title holders to be held in early February, possibly in Brisbane.

At least 10 players could be missing from the Broncos squad that beat Melbourne in Sunday's grand final, with retired Shane Webcke and Casey McGuire leaving the club. The World Club Challenge will be contested between Brisbane and St Helens, Hull or Bradford.

The Broncos have at least nine players involved in the Tri Nations series, with winger Tame Tupou set to be named in the New Zealand squad today.