St George Illawarra veteran Matt Cooper has called on teammates to win Sunday night's (Monday NZT) World Club Challenge against Wigan for their coach Wayne Bennett.

The seven-time premiership mentor has flown home to Australia to be with his gravely ill mother-in-law.

Cooper said the reigning NRL premiers were determined to use Bennett's plight as extra motivation for the DW Stadium clash.

"It is sad and he needs to be back there and I am sure he did not want to leave us but family comes first and that is the sort of bloke he is," Cooper said.

"We came over here to win it and this gives us a bit more motivation with Wayne not being here.

"So we are looking forward to the game and I am sure Wayne will be watching back home."

Bennett is due to arrive in Brisbane on Friday to be with his family.

Since joining for the start of the 2009 NRL season, the long-time Brisbane Broncos coach has transformed the Dragons into the well-drilled outfit that won last year's NRL grand final 32-8 against the Sydney Roosters.

In his absence, assistant coach Steve Price will take up the reins and Cooper said his side had enough wise heads to handle the occasion.

"The leadership group, we have to step up a bit and take a bit more responsibility especially for these younger blokes," said Cooper.

"But we are capable of doing that, we have a great assistant coach in Steve Price.

"Also we have Craig Young (in the coaching staff), he is a very experienced bloke and he is good for the younger blokes as well.

"Even though Wayne is not going to be here, we have the players and the coaching staff to step up."

The Dragons trained for the final time in London on Thursday before catching a train up north.

Thierry Alibert has been named as referee for the match, the Super League regular will be the first Frenchman to take charge of the World Club Challenge.

The weather bureau is predicting showers on Sunday in Wigan before a cold, clear evening with the thermometer expected to dip to zero.

- AAP