Thursday, September 6, 2018

NRL Pondering California Start In 2019

By Elie Mpovie

From the National Rugby League website and the Daily Telegraph,

The National Rugby League has today revealed its proposed 2019 calendar to club CEOs, with the main talking point the potential for next season to kick off with a one-off match in the USA.

Rumours have circulated for some time that the NRL was looking to make a splash with its season opener, but CEO Todd Greenberg said they were getting closer to making a call.

“Significant work is required to make this game happen but it would be a sensational way to open the 2019 season,” he said.

“We hope to be in a position to make a final decision on whether the event proceeds in the coming weeks.”

Given the significant travel and time difference, the California match would most likely take place a full week before the rest of round one.

Take the jump to read more.
No teams or venues have been confirmed for the fixture, although with Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland all housing NFL teams – not to mention the state’s host of college teams – it is unlikely a venue will be difficult to lock down.

The other big news to come out of the meeting was the confirmation that Origin II – to be played at Perth’s new Optus Stadium – would once again take place on a Sunday evening.

“The match is already close to being a sell-out – that’s how much interest there is in Origin in Perth,” Greenberg said.

Other key aspects of the fixture revealed were the league’s aim to put on several blockbuster matches at the reopened Western Sydney Stadium, and a continued push to play games in regional areas.

An International Nines tournament is also reportedly on the cards, with this edition set to take place after the season and have players represent their country of origin, instead of their club.

An All-Stars match has also been locked in for February.

Personal Take: With the England v New Zealand scrapped for the moment, this is a great move by the NRL, bringing the game here will draw crowds but it’s should be done at a decent sized stadium, a Nines World Cup will grow the profile of the game massively. The want is there but everything needs to come to fruition.

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