The NRL's push to get Hugh Jackman on board to promote the Round 1 Las Vegas clash between Manly and South Sydney appears to have failed, with the Hollywood superstar reportedly busy with other commitments. Reports suggest the NRL had hoped Jackman would help promote the competition's blockbuster double-header in the US next season or at least be a part of marketing the game.
However, The Sydney Morning Herald reports the diehard Manly fan won't be at the event and the NRL are looking to work with other sports and their athletes to promote the double-header. The Australian actor, 55, has gone through a tumultuous few months after announcing he and his wife of 27 years Deborra-Lee Furness split in September.
It is understood NRL executives gave Jackman as much time as they could to commit but have now had to move on. One NRL official previously told Yahoo Sport Australia: "It's a real tricky one. Everyone is understandably giving Hugh plenty of space and respecting his privacy at the moment. But at the same time, some decisions have to be made soon on his exact role in promoting this event."
When the idea of taking the NRL to the US to kick off the 2024 season was first floated, Jackman threw his support behind the project. "Bring it on!" he told The Sun-Herald. "Would love for it to happen. They would love the great game of rugby league here in the US I'm sure."
The NRL originally planned to use Jackman and Souths owner Russell Crowe to market the opening game of the season but it appears neither will be at the match. Crowe, however, is reportedly working with the NRL ahead of the game's historic season opener.
The Souths owner reportedly held a face-to-face meeting with NRL executives and is said to be playing a significant role in the planning. The Sea Eagle and Rabbitohs will kick off the 2024 season at Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas and the match will be followed by a match between the Roosters and Broncos.
NRL to select four ambassadors of the game before Vegas trip
Broncos halfback Adam Reynolds, Sea Eagles prop Aaron Woods and Rabbitohs centre Campbell Graham are all expected to be named as NRL ambassadors ahead of the code's historic Las Vegas doubleheader in March. The fourth ambassador is still unknown with the Roosters yet to put a player forward.
The four ambassadors will participate in several promotions from December 9-15 in America, in a bid to generate publicity and ticket sales. It was initially believed Pat Carrigan would be the ambassador for the Broncos, however, club officials are now understood to be happy for Reynolds to head to the US.
The selection of Graham is said to be due to him being both intelligent and articulate, while Woods is a somewhat surprising choice. However, Sea Eagles CEO Tony Mestrov says the prop is the 'ideal person to represent the club'.
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