Should a new English franchise join the NRL?

Salford owner Dr Marwan Koukash wants to put an English franchise in to the NRL.

The so-called British Bulldogs would compete in an expanded competition from 2018, playing home games in England and possibly in Dubai.

The idea is to protect rugby league from the advances of rugby union, especially with league’s own Sam Burgess potentially set to make the headlines for England in the Six Nations.

Koukash said: “People are worried about losing players to the NRL but the biggest danger to rugby league in this country is rugby union. The rugby union are aggressively marketing their product in our heartland, so why can’t we take our game to their place?

“We would have the best rugby league players in the world playing in Gloucester, London and Manchester and I would also like to play one of the games in Dubai. I have already held initial talks about that.”

It’s certainly a revolutionary idea.

The two big questions must be would it attract the attention of the media on a regular basis and what impact would it have on the Super League competition.

If the best players want to turn out for “British Bulldogs” (or any other NRL team for that matter), where does that leave the clubs that are the lifeblood of the game in the UK.

It puts Super League in an awkward position. It could never be the top club competition in the world as a result.

There is clamour in the NFL for a London-based team, but that’s different – NFL is basically a brand and sport of its own. Rugby league is a sport in its own right, and the NRL is just a part of that.

While Burgess will no doubt be picking up a tidy sum for his exploits at Bath and for England in the 15-man code, that won’t be the only reason he’s made the switch.

The attention and the support that the union’s international game gets is a fillip for any player.

Realistically, would a solitary NRL side based in the UK be able to compete with that and bridge that gap?

And would it have much of an impact on an international game that the Australians already treat with such contempt.

That said, a club could pick up support and attention down south, attracting the many rugby league fans who don’t have a club allegiance, even if it would add more weight to the “northern sport” jibes bandied at Super League (sic).

It’s one to keep an eye on and good luck to Dr Koukash if he does manage it.

But my gut feeling is – no.

 

Do you think an English team should join the NRL, and would you support it?

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