'Zero interest': NRL's next big move panned by fans

·Contributor
·3-min read
The NRL's efforts to launch a one-off game in the United States could be the kind of thing that could blow up in the league's face. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
The NRL's efforts to launch a one-off game in the United States could be the kind of thing that could blow up in the league's face. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

As story #349 emerged about rugby league's plan #498 to conquer the American sporting market, it was time to do a little straw poll among people who actually live there.

You know, to see if the Yanks were jumping out of their collective skins at the prospect of South Sydney and Manly opening the 2023 season in LA.

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So I messaged an old Aussie mate and work colleague in the States to find him working his way through a holiday 12-pack of Samuel Adams wheat beer with an Easter Sunday feed of meatballs, lasagne, pasta, ham, chicken schnitzel and sweet potato.

I caught Steve at beer three and halfway through his third snitty, just in time for him to coherently report there was 'zero interest' in rugby league.

He's tried his best to educate the uneducated, showing them clips of Turbo tearing Canterbury a new one and big Nelson Asofa-Solomona trampling humans like they were ants under a Blundstone.

He may as well have been talking Egyptian Arabic.

"If you try to explain there's two types of rugby, they stop listening," he reported.

"They all think it’s rugby."

In between beer three and four, he passed the phone over to his American-born brother-in-law for a home-grown perspective.

Dave Marr is from York Town, New York, and will watch as much sport as his wife allows.

He is no sporting philistine.

Dave represented his country at lacrosse and considers himself a big fan of ice hockey, baseball and NFL.

He's open to anything new, including a foreign sport big in just one part of one country and a few other outposts.

Rugby League not on the radar in America

Steve has done his best to indoctrinate his BIL in the ways of rugby league after marrying into the family seven years ago.

It was a worthwhile pursuit but ultimately as fruitless as a Wests Tigers' premiership bid.

"I just don't have time to watch a new sport with all the other sports I follow. There's no downtime in the sports schedule over here," Dave told Yahoo Sport Australia.

"It's nothing against rugby (league). It just won't get any traction due to the congested sporting schedule."

What about on the west coast where the proposed Souths-Manly game will be played?

Serious doubts exist over the appeal of a showdown between league giants South Sydney and Manly in the United States. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Serious doubts exist over the appeal of a showdown between league giants South Sydney and Manly in the United States. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Julie Scott grew up in Sydney's Guilford supporting the mighty Western Suburbs Magpies.

She has lived in the States for 22 years, setting up base in Portland, Oregon, with her Boston-born husband and two sons.

"I think rugby union has gained traction for sure but not rugby league. Rugby is played in most universities and most people know what it is over here," she told us.

"Rugby's gaining ground but just will never be bigger that the big sports here.

"No one knows what rugby league is."

A one-off game in the US won't change that.

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