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Moffett fires warning shot at rugby union with NRL expansion talks increasing


The Daily Telegraph recently reported on a document that detailed ARLC commissioner Peter V’landys' plans to expand the NRL to 20 teams by 2032.

With great exposure of Rugby League and new generation of fans, an expansion would spark the competition adding more flavour.

Perth, Papua New Guinea, Christchurch and the potential return of the North Sydney Bears have been revealed as part of the plan - with a second New Zealand franchise and the Bears likely competing for one license. A 'secret' third Christchurch consortium was also revealed by the Daily Telegraph.

David Moffett, the Chief Commissioner behind the South Island Kea bid, spoke to Matty White on SEN 1170 following these recent developments.

One key factor he's focused on his igniting a North vs South rivalry that he believes could mirror the State of Origin series, but with a New Zealand twist. Well in his words, the Auckland Warriors versus the South Island Kea.

“That is the sort of thing that I think the NRL want to see. A genuine rivalry, this is one between the North and South Island," Moffett said.

“If we could sell the tickets to the opening game in 2026, I reckon we could sell the capacity of the new stadium."

Construction of Christchurch's new downtown Te Kaha stadium is progressing well, with the promise of providing a state-of-the-art home to the Crusaders Super Rugby franchise, plus a possible NRL expansion team.

Moffett's background as a Sports Administrator in both rugby codes gives him the confidence on the South Island Kea being a new entrant into the NRL Premiership, stating he knows what V'landys will be looking for.

The Canterbury region already produces exceptional rugby league talent, but is being snapped up by outside NRL clubs - Moffett wants to directly stop South Island-based players from being snatched up the Auckland-based Warriors.

“More importantly we want potential players to stay in their backyard which is close to their support networks," Moffett said.

“The Warriors take our players from down here and take them to the club system up in Auckland. It affects our club system down here, so it needs to stop happening."

And while rugby union in New Zealand continues to fight themselves in a governance battle between NZ Rugby, the Players' Association, and the provincial unions, rugby league sees the potential to strike.

"Rugby is in the toilet," Moffett replied when asked to comment on union's current state of affairs,

“Rugby worldwide is in big trouble - they have wasted money on expanding, politics got in the way, and they go from one crisis to another.

“If rugby is not careful, they won't exist."

Listen to the full interview below:

Rugby League

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