Paul Sculthorpe is fully aware what level of performance Saints will need to produce to topple Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge at the BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.
The former club captain was twice a winner of the annual showpiece in 2001 and 2007 and on both occasions Brisbane Broncos were the vanquished at Bolton.
But 45-year-old Sculthorpe, who joined Saints from Warrington Wolves for a £375,000 fee in January 1998, is quietly confident his old club can shed their underdog tag and feels it is the perfect tie to beat the title holders.
The ex-loose forward insisted: “Saints have had a couple of friendlies, but it’s a whole different ball game on Saturday. I think the boys can emerge triumphant but they have got to be at their best.
“It’s also a great time to catch Penrith, but we’ve got to start quickly and get in their faces and upset them. They have a lot of talented players but so do Saints. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to beat them at what they do, play the Saints way and play some rugby.”
Only one team from the Super League has won the clash in the last 10 years, when Wigan overcame the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 22-6 at the DW Stadium back in 2017.
On the other hand, Penrith have never been crowned World Club Challenge champions, losing in the final twice, and Sculthorpe believes nothing is won based on history.
“They are World Club challengers, it’s a one-off occasion and I don’t think you can refer to history books or whatever,” he continued. “We’ve all had our successes, both English and Aussie teams so I don’t think history tells us anything apart from the 80 minutes.
“I really hope the best for Saints with my Saints hat on but also for the Super League and British rugby league that we do ourselves proud.”
The Super League champions have been Down Under for a couple of weeks in preparation for the game on Saturday, acclimatising to the warm weather.
New South Wales has been subject to extreme conditions which means kick off has been put back by 50 minutes, with temperatures expected to hit 37 degrees .
But, Sculthorpe, who played nearly 250 times during a period of 11 years at Knowsley Road, thinks weather will not negatively impact the travelling side.
“It’s going to be warm, the guys have been over there for a couple of weeks, they are acclimatised,” he added.
“But if you can’t get up for a game like that in mid- 30 degrees in Australia, playing in front of the world, you’re in the wrong game.
“I think players are used to it, like playing in the peak of summer over here, going to Catalans in July and August, it’s just as warm and I think they will be thriving off it.
“You see the boys over on the beaches in Australia and I’m sure they are thoroughly enjoying it. It’s going to be warm but they are fit athletes. They have just got to adapt to the conditions that are thrown at them.”