| 6 June-11 October|
| Brisbane Broncos (2nd title)|
The 1997 World Club Championship was an expansion of the World Club Challenge concept by Super League. The competition was restructured to include all 22 clubs from the Australasian and European Super League championships and was known as the Visa World Club Championship due to sponsorship. As it was contested over 6 rounds in 2 hemispheres, with A$1,000,000 prize money (GBP 640,000), the competition was prohibitively expensive to stage. This coupled with the poor ratings and attendances that were achieved both in Australia and Europe reportedly resulted in a loss over $5,000,000, and the World Club Challenge was not staged again for a number of years. No British teams progressed further than the quarter finals, with two Australian teams reaching the final (played at the Ericsson Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand): the dominant Brisbane Broncos club and the ill-fated Hunter Mariners.
1997 World Club Championship Wikipedia
The Australasian and European teams were each divided into two pools for the 1997 World Club Challenge. Each pool had six teams, with the exception of Australasia B, which had the two lowest placed Super League-aligned teams and the two newly formed teams: the Hunter Mariners and the Adelaide Rams. The finals series was contested between the top three teams in Australasia Pool A and Europe Pool A, and the top team from Australasia Pool B and Europe Pool B.
The dominance of the Australasian sides in the competition led to the Rugby Football League appointing Joe Lydon to head a commission to provide an explanation.