NRL clubs could be the first opponents for a New York team hoping to emulate Toronto Wolfpack’s rise to Super League after being given the green light to join the League One competition in 2022.
New York CEO Ricky Wilby on Tuesday outlined an ambitious plan to host three NRL clubs in pre-season trials next February as well as two national teams ahead of the 2021 World Cup.
The US club is aiming to enter the 2021 Challenge Cup and Wilby said a coach had already been lined up to prepare the team for up to 30 “friendlies” ahead of their entry to League One the following year.
“It gives us an opportunity to prove we should be in in 2021 and show what we can do,” Wilby said. “It’s really exciting that we’ve got those NRL teams coming to the States.
“They’ll be announced at a later date but we are very excited about playing those three teams. They’ll be trial games for the NRL teams.”
South Sydney, Manly and North Queensland have been reported to be the NRL clubs approached to play New York at Red Bull Arena (which is located in New Jersey).
Those clubs have made no official comment on the matter.
The admission of New York for the 2022 season follows confirmation the Ottawa Aces would next year become the second Canadian team to join the British competition.
Like Toronto, Ottawa will start in League One and owner Eric Perez – the Wolfpack founder – said the Aces aim to win their way into the second-tier Championship and then Super League in five years.
Perez purchased the North London-based Hemel Stags in 2019 and will relocate the club to Canada’s capital city.
Both Ottawa and New York plan to sign North American players but Wilby said NRL and Super League stars could also be targeted.
“We want those American accents in the team,” he told the press conference at the British Music Experience in Liverpool.
“But if the right player becomes available … it has to be the right player with the right attitude.”
The RFL will announce the draw for the sixth round of the Challenge Cup in New York next week and negotiations are at an “advanced stage” for New York to join the famous knockout competition in 2021.