Hugh Jackman in sad development as NRL's Las Vegas season opener dealt huge blow

The Hollywood star has withdrawn from the NRL season opener hours before kick off.

Pictured Hugh Jackman left and Sea Eagles in Las Vegas right
Hugh Jackman has withdrawn from the NRL season opener in Las Vegas hours before kick-off, citing personal reason. Image: Getty

Hours out from the NRL season opener in Las Vegas, Hugh Jackman has withdrawn from the showcase event. The Hollywood star was expected to be in attendance to watch his beloved Manly Sea Eagles face the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday but has pulled out citing personal reasons.

It was originally hoped the Aussie superstar would follow Russell Crowe's lead and help promote the NRL's season-opening games in Las Vegas, but he chose not to be a part of the marketing campaign targeted towards the American audience. However, the X-Men star planned to be at Allegiant Stadium to watch the Sea Eagles but on Saturday (Sunday AEDT), Jackman flew out of Las Vegas to New York hours before kick-off.

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The Sydney Morning Herald reported the Hollywood actor pulled out of the event at the last minute due to personal reasons. Jackman's friend and Aussie sports commentator Gus Worland said he was hoping to be there but could not make it due to "unforeseen circumstances".

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 01:  The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles huddle together during a NRL Captain's Run at Allegiant Stadium, on March 01, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Manly Sea Eagles huddle together during a NRL Captain's Run at Allegiant Stadium. (Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

"He was gutted to leave," Worland told News Corp. "He made the effort to come here but due to unforeseen circumstances, he had to go back. He was really disappointed. He was looking forward to wearing his Manly jersey to the game."

It is the latest blow for the NRL, who had hoped Crowe and Jackman would both attend the historic season opener, but now neither man will be present. Crowe turned down the chance to be in attendance but he did, however, feature in the NRL’s official advertising campaign in the United States, doing a voice-over for a TV ad explaining the game.

Daly Cherry-Evans believes Manly holds the advantage in Las Vegas

Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans believes spending 11 days in Sin City before Sunday's season opener against South Sydney will give his team the edge in their NRL first-round clash. The season-opening double-header at Allegiant Stadium looms as the most-hyped regular season event in years, with players comparing the build-up to that of grand final week.

More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the event, with the NRL hopeful that it could reach 50,000 come kick-off. The Sea Eagles flew straight into Las Vegas on Wednesday last week and have trained solely in the city at a secondary field and have used the UFC headquarters for gym work.

Despite concerns from other clubs that an extended Vegas stint could be distracting, Cherry-Evans insists it has been beneficial. "I feel like with our preparation being so long, we'll adjust nicely and be ready to play on Saturday," Cherry-Evans said.

"That was the strategy, to coming here and not be overawed by all of this stuff going on. We've been here for a little while, we've seen the bright lights. We're really focused on the game."

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