PNG included to host League World Cup

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SYDNEY’s century-long stranglehold on rugby league is slowly but surely loosening.

SYDNEY’s century-long stranglehold on rugby league is slowly but surely loosening.

Just days after an all-Queensland NRL grand final, The Daily Telegraph can reveal that rugby league outposts Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin have begun top-level negotiations to host 2017 World Cup games.

Three World Cup Tests were allocated to Port Moresby in PNG, while 11 provinces in New Zealand have also expressed a desire for matches.

RLWC 2017 chief executive Michael Brown revealed the enormous interest from three countries for the looming event.

Brown, CEO of the 2015 Asian Cup soccer tournament, an ex-general manager of Cricket Australia and former Hawthorn Football Club CEO, said: “We have been approached by every state and territory in Australia. Perth, Adelaide, Tasmania, Melbourne, ACT and Darwin, they want to have a chat — everyone is interested.

“We have to sift through those. We only have 28 games to allocate but if it is truly a national sport, we have to hear those messages and make sure we get games out there to the people.

“On Tuesday, we addressed the 11 councils, State Governments and Central Governments in New Zealand. Interest in the game is significant.

“There will be a process where we work out who is interested, what can they do, what do they want to do, does it conflict with other events.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the enthusiasm to host what will be biggest sporting event in 2017. We saw the success of the cricket World Cup across each side on ‘The Ditch’.”

“We need to lift the profile of the event. The event needs to grow, the event needs to get bigger and compete on the stage of the rugby World Cup, cricket World Cup, the FIFA World Cup. We’ve got to think beyond our borders. The Asian Cup, which I was involved with, was broadcast to over one billion people across the world. We saw record crowds.”

Michael Brown been poached to run the Rugby League World Cup.

Perhaps Brown’s biggest test will be attracting crowds. Certainly Australian NRL fans tend to focus on summer sports once the grand final concludes.

Asked how he would ensure strong crowd numbers, Brown said: “A number of ways, people will come to watch international sport, so making sure that the athletes are playing on the best pitches and the best facilities.

“For me, the key to any event is that you’ve got to engage communities. It will be about engagement, consultation and making sure this is a celebration of sport. If this is the Greatest Game of All, we have to make it that and celebrate that. We will see packed-out houses.”

Brown said he immediately accepted his new role in rugby league.

“It’s a game that I am very passionate about,” he said. “What I saw on Sunday night (NRL grand final) was a remarkable sporting event.”

The 2017 World Cup will be played among 14 nations between October and December.

Source: Plans to share League World Cup

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