Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
For many years we have seen different strategies used by the NRL to try and grow the game in the United States of America to varying levels of success.
Most recently, an International game between New Zealand and England was taken to Denver in 2018 but unfortunately did not achieve the results that the NRL, who heavily backed the game, intended.
It seems the NRL now has its next plan for expanding into North America, as there is a belief that South Sydney Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles fan Hugh Jackman would invest heavily in taking a game between the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles to the USA as early as 2023.
Sea Eagles co-owner Scott Penn has spoken to the Sydney Morning Herald about the concept and is all for it.
“No question, it makes total sense,” Penn said.
— Ron Fitzpatrick (@TelecasterRon) October 30, 2021
“That’s the opportunity to showcase the NRL and the spectacle of the game, I think there’s big potential.
“A couple of the NFL teams just played in London to expand the game, we’d love to play.
“I’d love to encourage Hugh Jackman to support us and have Russell Crowe there to help make a spectacle of it.
“I’ve spoken to Peter [V’Landys, ARL Chairman] and Andrew [Abdo, NRL chief executive] about it previously. Obviously, COVID threw a big spanner into the works.
“We were always talking about how Manly-Souths would be an absolute cracker of a game. Having some heavyweight Hollywood talent on each side showing interest would be helpful.
“We are definitely interested. I see no reason why 2023 can’t be a possibility.”
Not only does Penn support this idea, but so does South Sydney’s Chief Executive Officer Blake Solly, who also spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Clearly the pandemic put an end to the previous discussions about a game in the US,” Solly said.
“However, if the ARLC and International Rugby League are serious about using an NRL premiership game as the starting point for a long-term strategy to grow the sport in the US from 2023, we would be keen to be part of it.”
With the backing of the higher-ups at both clubs, the NRL and a couple of famous investors, there’s a good chance that we will see an NRL game between the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles taken to the USA in 2023.