JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Push for NRL season opener in China

China back on the table: Plans to play a NRL match in the Asian country have been rekindled.

China back on the table: Plans to play a NRL match in the Asian country have been rekindled. Photo: Getty Images

Plans to take rugby league to China are back on the table after Manly and Canberra  pushed for a historic NRL season opener to be held there next year.

The Sea Eagles smashed the Raiders 54-18 at Brookvale Oval last weekend in a clash both teams had originally tried to stage in Shenzhen.

However, those plans were scuppered last year when the Australian Rugby League Commission opted not to fork out the funds necessary to underwrite the round-eight fixture in Asia.

Having put more than 18 months of planning and due diligence into the venture, both clubs were disillusioned with the governing body's decision and it appeared the bold proposal would be shelved forever.

However, the vision of Super League supremo John Ribot, who trumpeted his desire to take rugby league to China 16 years ago, is not dead yet.

Manly boss David Perry and Canberra counterpart Don Furner caught up when their teams played each other last weekend to further refine their proposal to make the trip happen.

Much of the due diligence has already been done. The NRL engaged Red Tape Consulting's Tom Parker, the man who helped to take an AFL exhibition match to China, to put together a feasibility study.

Parker did the groundwork before the Melbourne Demons took on the Brisbane Lions at Jiangwan Sports Centre in Shanghai four years ago.

That match was an exhibition, played in front of 7000 spectators. However, the NRL clubs want to be playing for competition points, in round one no less, in front of a much bigger audience.

"We would clearly like to re-engage with the NRL and our partners to discuss the fantastic opportunity to promote this game in a market which is the fastest-growing, economy wise, in the world," Perry said.

"We still have significant interest from our sponsors and the game as a whole will benefit if we open our minds and get into that market."

Manly's major sponsor, Kaspersky, and Raiders backer Huawei, are keen for the event to happen. A sellout is likely at the 60,000-seat Shenzhen Stadium, situated an hour north of Hong Kong, as Huawei has as many employees in the region.

The clubs are in talks with other commercial partners interested in finally making the proposal a reality.

"It's not dead and buried," Perry said. "There are some influential people behind the scenes who would like to see it happen.

"By doing it in round one, it would make the opening round of the NRL a huge event."

It's understood the preferred timeslot would be the opening Friday night game. The Nine Network has previously stated the proposal had some merit but would need to be briefed further.

It's understood the NRL was prepared to commit up to $750,000 over three years to the project, while the clubs wanted $500,000 of that sum channelled into the first of a two-season deal, with the option of a third.

The NRL's head of strategy, Shane Mattiske, was the man chiefly involved in negotiations from head office but he has subsequently resigned and will finish up in June.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith recently outlined a new club funding model, which included a growth fund to encourage innovative ideas. The Raiders and Sea Eagles are hoping their ambitious plans to launch into China will qualify under the new funding scheme, which will come into effect in November.

Taking first-grade matches overseas was not part of the ARLC's strategic five-year plan but the decision to give the green light to the Auckland Nines tournament, the brainchild of promoters Duco Events, is evidence they will consider new proposals.

Another plus for the project is the fact an increasing number of Asian companies are sponsoring clubs, and there are hopes more will come on board if it gets the go-ahead.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner could not be contacted for comment.

 

20 comments so far

  • Why not they will get better crowds in China than here!!!

    Commenter
    Ian
    Date and time
    May 03, 2014, 11:32PM
    • There is absolutely no point in an exhibition game in China if its a one-off. If there's a strategy behind it then let me read it.

      This is a stupid idea. Just like that one-off Qld v NSW game in 1987 in Los Angeles. Waste. Of. Time.

      Commenter
      turbodewd
      Location
      turbodewd1@gmail.com
      Date and time
      May 04, 2014, 10:01AM
  • Sounds great, but how exactly is a sell-out of a 60 000 seat stadium "likely"?

    Commenter
    Joe the expat
    Location
    The Hague
    Date and time
    May 04, 2014, 2:18AM
    • China?.. CHINA !!!???

      So the officials from those sterling stalwarts of NRL socialism, Manly and the mob from the holy city think taking the money path to the people's republic of footy is the way to go, eh? Fair enough too, they couldn't run a local chook raffle so why not try and run a fantasy comp... Good luck with getting your guys out of there after a drunken night on the red bull, pills and schooners...

      Idiots...

      Commenter
      Duke
      Location
      somewhere south of Shabghai
      Date and time
      May 04, 2014, 3:39AM
      • i say y go to a country that doesn't no anything bout league.if manly wants to go they shud promote it themselves

        Commenter
        stef
        Location
        emerald
        Date and time
        May 04, 2014, 6:17AM
        • I like how they're trying innovations like this (the Manly and Canberra fans might not, for this particular game anyway).
          Even if it doesn't work out, they're trying things out and not being stagnate in developing the game. The AFL is good at promoting innovation, the NRL and its clubs hopefully will be more proactive in this area as well.

          Commenter
          someone
          Location
          out there
          Date and time
          May 04, 2014, 6:37AM
          • What an exciting initiative. China has been screaming out for NRL action for years.

            Will there be buses leaving from Central?

            Commenter
            IH
            Date and time
            May 04, 2014, 7:30AM
            • One word may simply sum this up. WHY ?

              Haven't we learnt from moving Origin matches to Melbourne ?

              Can someone get in touch with John Ribot & we can all take a time machine ride back to 1995 !

              Maybe move the club game to NZ ; maybe even Perth. Or maybe given the NRL's focus they say the now have on refocussing on the country how about take the game to somewhere even closer like NSW country ?

              Commenter
              PRIMETIME21
              Date and time
              May 04, 2014, 7:31AM
              • Why? Say 30,000 people (half the expected crowd) spend at least $20 on merchandise just for memorabilia or novelty value. That's $600K. Ticket prices at even $10 that's $300K. Almost $1 million from ONE game.

                Will people go? Chinese employees will do what they're told to do by their bosses.

                Commenter
                YS
                Location
                Canberra
                Date and time
                May 04, 2014, 11:20AM
            • Good idea, its the only place they are likely to get a decent crowd!

              Commenter
              Ian
              Date and time
              May 04, 2014, 7:52AM

              More comments

              Make a comment

              You are logged in as [Logout]

              All information entered below may be published.

              Error: Please enter your screen name.

              Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

              Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

              Error: Please enter your comment.

              Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

              Post to

              You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

              Thank you

              Your comment has been submitted for approval.

              Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

              NRL Season 2014

              Round 1
              Thu, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
              SOU 28 vs SYD 8 Report Stats
              Fri, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
              BUL 12 vs BRI 18 Stats
              Sat, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
              PEN 30 vs NEW 8 Report Stats
              MAN 22 vs MEL 23 Report Stats
              NQL 28 vs CAN 22 Report Stats
              Sun, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
              STG 44 vs WES 24 Report Stats
              PAR 36 vs NZW 16 Report Stats
              Mon, 10 MarTimes shown AEDT
              CRO 12 vs GCT 18 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 2
              Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
              MAN 14 vs SOU 12 Report Stats
              BRI 16 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
              Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
              NZW 12 vs STG 31 Report Stats
              MEL 18 vs PEN 17 Report Stats
              SYD 56 vs PAR 4 Report Stats
              Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
              GCT 12 vs WES 42 Report Stats
              NEW 20 vs CAN 26 Report Stats
              Mon, 17 MarTimes shown AEDT
              BUL 42 vs CRO 4 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 3
              Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
              WES 25 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
              BRI 26 vs SYD 30 Report Stats
              Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
              PEN 18 vs BUL 16 Report Stats
              CRO 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
              NQL 16 vs NZW 20 Report Stats
              Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
              MAN 22 vs PAR 18 Report Stats
              CAN 12 vs GCT 24 Stats
              Mon, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
              MEL 28 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 4
              Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
              SYD vs MAN 8 Report Stats
              STG 20 vs BRI 36 Report Stats
              Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
              NZW 42 vs WES 18 Report Stats
              PAR 32 vs PEN 16 Report Stats
              BUL 40 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
              Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
              SOU 18 vs CAN 30 Report Stats
              NEW 30 vs CRO Report Stats
              Mon, 31 MarTimes shown AEDT
              GCT 13 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 5
              Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
              SYD 8 vs BUL 9 Report Stats
              BRI 18 vs PAR 25 Report Stats
              Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
              CRO 37 vs NZW 6 Report Stats
              PEN 12 vs CAN 6 Report Stats
              STG 6 vs SOU 26 Report Stats
              Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
              MEL 26 vs GCT 28 Report Stats
              WES 34 vs MAN 18 Report Stats
              Mon, 07 AprTimes shown AEST
              NQL 28 vs NEW 2 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 6
              Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
              PEN 2 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
              GCT 12 vs BRI 8 Report Stats
              Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
              CAN 12 vs NEW 26 Report Stats
              PAR 14 vs SYD 12 Report Stats
              WES 16 vs NQL 4 Report Stats
              Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
              NZW 20 vs BUL 21 Report Stats
              MAN 24 vs CRO 4 Report Stats
              Mon, 14 AprTimes shown AEST
              MEL 28 vs STG 24 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 7
              Fri, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
              SOU 14 vs BUL 15 Report Stats
              NEW 6 vs BRI 32 Report Stats
              MAN 26 vs NQL 21 Report Stats
              Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
              STG 20 vs NZW 10 Report Stats
              CRO 18 vs SYD 24 Report Stats
              Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
              CAN 24 vs MEL 22 Report Stats
              Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
              PAR 18 vs WES 21 Report Stats
              PEN 14 vs GCT 12 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 8
              Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
              STG 14 vs SYD 34 Report Stats
              MEL 10 vs NZW 16 Report Stats
              BRI 26 vs SOU 28 Report Stats
              Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
              CRO 24 vs PEN 20 Report Stats
              NQL 42 vs PAR 14 Report Stats
              BUL 16 vs NEW 12 Report Stats
              Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
              MAN 54 vs CAN 18 Report Report Stats
              WES 6 vs GCT 22 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 9
              Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
              SYD 30 vs WES 6 Report Stats
              NQL 27 vs BRI 14 Report Stats
              Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
              NZW 54 vs CAN 12 Report Stats
              GCT 18 vs SOU 40 Report Stats
              MEL 22 vs MAN 19 Report Stats
              Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
              NEW 10 vs PEN 32 Report Stats
              STG 6 vs BUL 38 Report Stats
              Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
              PAR 42 vs CRO 24 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 10
              Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
              SOU 14 vs MEL 27 Report Stats
              BRI 22 vs GCT 8 Report Stats
              Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
              PAR 36 vs STG Report Stats
              CRO 20 vs WES 22 Report Stats
              NQL 42 vs SYD 10 Report Stats
              Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
              CAN 20 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
              BUL 16 vs NZW 12 Report Stats
              Mon, 19 MayTimes shown AEST
              MAN 15 vs NEW 14 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 11
              Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
              BUL 12 vs SYD 32 Report Stats
              Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
              GCT 16 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
              WES 14 vs BRI 16 Report Stats
              Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
              CAN 42 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
              Mon, 26 MayTimes shown AEST
              CRO vs SOU 18 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 12
              Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
              PEN 38 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
              Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
              SYD 26 vs CAN 12 Report Stats
              NQL 22 vs MEL Report Stats
              Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
              NZW 38 vs NEW 18 Report Stats
              BRI 36 vs MAN 10 Report Stats
              Mon, 02 JunTimes shown AEST
              SOU 29 vs STG 10 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 13
              Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
              MAN 32 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
              PAR 18 vs NQL 16 Report Stats
              Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
              GCT 14 vs PEN 36 Report Stats
              STG 30 vs CRO Report Stats
              SOU 34 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
              Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
              NEW 20 vs WES 23 Report Stats
              MEL 12 vs SYD 32 Report Stats
              Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
              CAN 4 vs BRI 28 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 14
              Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
              SOU 32 vs WES 10 Report Stats
              Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
              PEN 18 vs STG 14 Report Stats
              SYD 29 vs NEW 12 Report Stats
              Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
              BUL 12 vs PAR 22 Report Stats
              Mon, 16 JunTimes shown AEST
              GCT 20 vs MEL 24 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 15
              Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
              CAN 14 vs BUL 22 Report Stats
              Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
              NZW 19 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
              CRO vs MAN 26 Report Stats
              Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
              MEL 46 vs PAR 20 Report Stats
              GCT 18 vs STG 19 Report Stats
              Mon, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
              NEW 36 vs NQL 28 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 16
              Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
              MAN 24 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
              BRI 22 vs CRO 24 Report Stats
              Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
              WES 19 vs CAN 18 Report Report Stats
              NQL 20 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
              Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
              NZW 30 vs PEN 20 Report Stats
              PAR 10 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
              Mon, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
              STG 24 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 17
              Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
              BUL 23 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
              Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
              STG 27 vs NQL 24 Report Stats
              SYD 28 vs CRO 30 Report Stats
              Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
              WES 10 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
              Mon, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
              SOU 10 vs GCT 14 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 18
              Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
              MAN 40 vs WES 8 Report Stats
              Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
              NZW 48 vs PAR Report Stats
              MEL 4 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
              Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
              GCT 20 vs CAN 36 Report Stats
              CRO 18 vs NEW 31 Report Stats
              Mon, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
              PEN 35 vs BRI 34 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 19
              Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
              CRO 18 vs NQL 36 Report Stats
              PAR 12 vs SOU 32 Report Stats
              Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
              SYD 32 vs PEN 12 Report Stats
              MEL 28 vs CAN 14 Report Stats
              BRI 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
              Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
              NEW 8 vs GCT 22 Report Stats
              WES 46 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
              Mon, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
              STG 12 vs MAN 21 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 20
              Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
              NEW 16 vs SYD 12 Report Stats
              BRI 8 vs MEL 30 Stats
              Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
              PEN 16 vs CRO 18 Report Stats
              GCT 18 vs PAR 24 Stats
              BUL 12 vs NQL 20 Report Stats
              Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
              NZW 12 vs MAN 22 Report Stats
              WES 12 vs STG 28 Stats
              Mon, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
              CAN 18 vs SOU 34 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 21
              Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
              MAN 16 vs BRI 4 Report Stats
              BUL 16 vs PEN 22 Stats
              Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
              CRO 12 vs PAR 32 Report Stats
              NQL 28 vs GCT 8 Stats
              SYD 30 vs STG 22 Stats
              Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
              CAN 18 vs NZW 54 Stats
              SOU 50 vs NEW 10 Stats
              Mon, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
              WES 6 vs MEL 28 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 22
              Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
              SOU 23 vs MAN 4 Report Stats
              BRI 41 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
              Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
              NEW 32 vs MEL 30 Report Stats
              NQL 64 vs WES 6 Report Stats
              PAR 18 vs CAN 10 Report Stats
              Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
              NZW 16 vs CRO 12 Report Stats
              STG 4 vs PEN 16 Stats
              Mon, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
              SYD 26 vs GCT 18 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 23
              Thu, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
              SOU 42 vs BRI 16 Report Stats
              Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
              PAR 16 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
              Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
              CAN 16 vs STG 34 Report Stats
              MEL 48 vs CRO 6 Report Stats
              WES 4 vs SYD 48 Report Stats
              Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
              NEW 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
              GCT 12 vs MAN 15 Report Stats
              Mon, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
              PEN 23 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 24
              Thu, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
              BUL 30 vs WES 10 Stats
              Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
              PAR 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
              Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
              BRI 48 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
              SOU 10 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
              Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
              NZW 12 vs SYD 46 Report Stats
              CRO 12 vs CAN 22 Stats
              STG 34 vs GCT 6 Stats
              Mon, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
              PEN 10 vs MEL 24 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 25
              Thu, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
              BUL 14 vs SOU 21 Stats
              Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
              BRI 30 vs STG 22 Stats
              Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
              NEW 42 vs PAR 12 Stats
              CAN 27 vs WES 12 Stats
              SYD 24 vs MEL 12 Stats
              Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
              NZW 42 vs GCT Stats
              MAN 26 vs PEN 25 Stats
              Mon, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
              NQL 20 vs CRO 19 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 26
              Thu, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
              SYD 22 vs SOU 18 Stats
              Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
              MEL 22 vs BRI 12 Stats
              Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
              WES 26 vs CRO 10 Report Stats
              CAN 33 vs PAR 20 Stats
              NQL 30 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
              Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
              NEW 40 vs STG 10 Report Stats
              GCT 19 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
              PEN 22 vs NZW 6 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Finals Week 1
              Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
              MAN 24 vs SOU 40 Report Stats
              Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
              SYD 18 vs PEN 19 Report Stats
              NQL 32 vs BRI 20 Report Stats
              Sun, 14 SepTimes shown AEST
              MEL 4 vs BUL 28 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Finals Week 2
              Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
              SYD 31 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
              Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
              MAN 17 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Preliminary Finals
              Fri, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
              SOU 32 vs SYD 22 Report Stats
              Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
              PEN 12 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Grand Final
              Sun, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
              SOU 30 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
              View All Fixtures
              NRL Premiership - 2014 Ladder
              Overall standings
              Team P W L D +/- Pts
              Sydney Roosters 24 16 8 0 230 36
              Manly 24 16 8 0 103 36
              South Sydney 24 15 9 0 224 34
              Penrith 24 15 9 0 80 34
              North Queensland 24 14 10 0 190 32
              Melbourne 24 14 10 0 76 32
              Canterbury-Bankstown 24 13 11 0 7 30
              Brisbane 24 12 12 0 93 28
              View all
               
              Featured advertisers