Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) has detailed plans to launch a Women’s Premiership competition, while talks are being held to stage a match between the New Zealand and England men’s national teams in the US city of Denver.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg confirmed today (Wednesday) that a six-team women’s competition will launch next year. The league will be played alongside the NRL Finals series.
The league will feature 40 centrally-contracted Australian national team players and match payments for all other competitors as the centre point of the NRL’s 2018 women’s program. A stand-alone State of Origin match will also be played, along with Pacific and trans-Tasman Tests.
The NRL said that most men’s Premiership sides have expressed an interest in entering a team in the new women’s league and a tender process is to begin next month. The NRL will consider geography, training facilities and other resources when selecting the teams. “It is going to create some tension, that is for sure,” Greenberg said, according to NRL.com.
“I would imagine that almost every one of our NRL clubs would be interested in how they obtain a franchise in year one. That is a good thing as it will add some competition. We met with all of our NRL CEOs yesterday and there was huge support for this program and a real appetite for it.”
NRL officials are hopeful that most of the Australian and New Zealand national team players will commit to the new competition, which would effectively guarantee the New Zealand Warriors a spot. Other teams said to be in the running include the Brisbane Broncos, Cronulla Sharks and St George Illawarra Dragons.
Greenberg added: “Clubs will be asked to submit formal tender documents as part of the application process and they will be assessed on a number of measurements. Commitment to grassroots and elite female talent through their own communities, high performance training facilities, resourcing, welfare and education – all of those things will be put in the mix as we assess applications.
“In a perfect world, we would consider geography within all of our tender documentation and what I mean by that is having a spread that takes into account New Zealand, takes into account NSW and Sydney particularly, but also Queensland and regionals like Canberra, Newcastle and Melbourne.”
In other news, plans are being put in place for the New Zealand and England men’s teams to meet in Denver ahead of the 2025 World Cup, which is set to take place in the US and Canada.
Moore Sports, which led the bid for the 2025 World Cup, has held talks with the relevant parties to meet next June on the weekend of the State of Origin II event at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
The proposal was discussed during yesterday’s meeting of NRL club chief executives and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant said an announcement would be made in due course.
The match would be played at Mile High Stadium, the home of NFL American football team the Denver Broncos.
Grant said: “What I can say is that there is a very short period before a decision has got to be made and the parties vested in that decision are the New Zealand Rugby League, (England’s) Rugby Football League, the RLPA on the behalf of the players contracted to the NRL competition and the NRL clubs. Those discussions are happening right now to try and make that happen, and you have to look at this not as one game, you have to look at this as a continuum building the international opportunities for our game.
“That means more revenue for the game, which means benefits for everyone and means players, clubs and leagues can be beneficiaries of this and you can have a global platform which is just a totally different environment in terms of attracting broadcast revenue. Though one game it might be, it is actually a very significant step in this process and if 2025 is going to work out then we have got to start now so I would be very hopeful we can get it up.”