New details emerge about Hugh Jackman's plans for NRL season opener in Las Vegas

NRL officials had been hoping for Jackman and Russell Crowe to team up and promote the game in America.

Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe
NRL bosses haven't been able to secure their dream Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe team-up. Image: Getty

Hugh Jackman appears unlikely to follow Russell Crowe's lead and help promote the NRL season-opening games in Las Vegas, but the Aussie superstar will reportedly attend the games and a Manly training session. NRL bosses were hoping that Jackman and Crowe could team up and promote the NRL to the American audience, with the Hollywood A-listers household names in the States.

But Jackman has shied away from the limelight in recent months after splitting with wife Deborra-Lee Furness last year. South Sydney owner Crowe has voiced a promotional video explaining the rules of the NRL to America, but Jackman has been more elusive.

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On Thursday the Daily Telegraph revealed that Manly fan Jackman is likely to attend the Sea Eagles' game against Souths as a guest of the club's sponsors Shaw and Partners. He is also reportedly going to attend a Manly training session in the lead-up to the games on March 3, which will also see the Broncos clash with the Roosters.

While not having Jackman promote the game is a huge missed opportunity for the NRL, the fact he will be at the game is a positive nonetheless. Manly CEO Tony Mestrov told Yahoo Sport Australia in December that he'd been speaking to Jackman and was confident he would play a role in the historic games in Vegas.

Russell Crowe, Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman.
Russell Crowe, Deborra-Lee Furness and Hugh Jackman at an NRL game in 2012. (Getty Images)

"I have reached out to Hugh via email and there has been a bit of back and forward correspondence," Mestrov told Yahoo Sport Australia. "I have officially invited him to be a guest at our game and he has indicated he will be there. He is very keen to be involved and thinks the Vegas venture is a great idea for the club and the game as a whole.

"He's obviously a very busy man so I'm not sure of any specifics at this stage, but I'm sure he will help out with promotions where he can. Having Hugh and Russell Crowe involved will be huge. I have just returned from the States and everyone knows who those two blokes are."

War of words erupts between Manly and South Sydney

Mestrov spent two weeks in the US in November, touring sporting franchises, attending NFL and NBA games and locking in training facilities ahead of the Sea Eagles' trip. And the Manly boss is keen to see rugby league implement many of the promotions he saw while attending basketball and American football games.

"The game in America is all around the entertainment. Everything is always bigger and better in America and I think there are parts of that we could apply to the NRL," Mestrov said. "We have to look at our game-day experience in the NRL and make it even more appealing to corporates and fans. We have to be open to change."

Seibold was left unhappy that Souths hadn't taken similar steps. “(It) would be nice if the Bunnies came to Las Vegas to promote the game," the Manly coach said before flying out of Sydney this week.

Demetriou later shot back: "In terms of promoting the game our club is renowned, and putting our hand up to come over here in the first place shows how committed we are to promoting the game. We’re promoting it to America, so it’s good the clubs have spread themselves to different areas. Anyone that knows me, knows I’m not putting money over the bar.’’

with Adam Lucius

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