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Jasper Bruce

Simmons pep talk hypes Penrith for World Club Challenge

Royce Simmons will travel to the UK with NRL champions Penrith for the World Club Challenge. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

A pep-talk from club legend Royce Simmons has primed Penrith to right the wrongs from last year's World Club Challenge loss in hostile English conditions.

Jack Cole, Daine Laurie and Brad Schneider will jostle to replace the injured Jarome Luai in an early glimpse to life without the Wests Tigers-bound five-eighth.

On Friday, the Panthers fly out for the annual clash between the winners of the NRL grand final and the Super League - won by Wigan.

After COVID-19 complications cancelled their mooted 2022 World Club Challenge, the Panthers suffered a surprise 13-12 home loss to St Helens in last year's game.

Simmons played his last match for the Panthers in their 1991 World Club Challenge loss, having inspired the side to a maiden grand-final victory only days earlier.

He began his coaching career with English side Hull FC the following year, later returning to the UK to lead St Helens between 2011 and 2012.

Now a club ambassador, Simmons will travel to Wigan with the Panthers.

The advice he gave the playing group during a pre-season visit will be top of mind when Penrith hunt the only major trophy missing from the club's cabinet.

"He just said how passionate (English players) are and the rivalry that they have. They sort of want to put it over the NRL," said second-rower Liam Martin.

"So every chance they get, they sort of get up for it."

Simmons reminded the Panthers not to make the same mistakes they did last time around.

"He sort of let us know how much it means to the England players," said co-captain Isaah Yeo.

"We probably didn't really understand that until (St Helens) won and they celebrated after it. It's a big game for us, it's a big game for them."

Premier League giants Manchester City have opened their training facilities to the Panthers for their stay and will welcome the club to a match against Chelsea this weekend.

Penrith will use the days that follow to acclimatise to frigid English conditions and prepare themselves for a sold-out Wigan crowd.

"Their fans are a little bit different over there, sort of playing into the soccer and that sort of stuff, they're constantly singing and just constantly in the game," Yeo said.

"We're looking forward to that."

Still recovering from shoulder surgery, Luai told AAP this week he was determined to play in the World Club Challenge even if it meant going against club advice.

But Penrith have since confirmed Luai will not play, setting up a five-eighth selection battle between ex-Raider Schneider, young gun Cole and the returning Laurie.

All three men will hope to replace Luai as Nathan Cleary's halves partner from 2025.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how they all go," Yeo said of the prospective five-eighths."

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