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New York target Thurston, Smith, Inglis, Gallen and Burgess

New York City officials have already begun discussing which marquee players to target and they are looking at the game’s biggest players.

Paul Gallen, Sam Burgess and Josh Morris have already declared an interest in playing for the new professional rugby league team, who are lined up to enter the English Championship in 2019.

The likes of Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis, Jarryd Hayne, Ryan Hoffman, Jake Friend and Trent Hodkinson have also been mentioned.

“New York is my favourite city in the world,” Cronulla legend Gallen told the Daily Telegraph. “I’ve been there two or three times. I really like it.

“The opportunity to go there and help get a team started, to be a bit of a pioneer for the sport over there, it would be a pretty cool thing to say when you retire.

“I definitely wouldn’t mind having a chat to them. The lure of living and working in New York City would be great and be of interest to a lot of players.

“There would be a number of things to weigh up with family, but without a doubt it would be something you’d have a chat to them about.

“For someone like myself, who has been able to achieve everything over here, to go and help a team get started would be a nice way to finish your career. It would be something I would look at, for sure.”

The New York club would not seek central funding and say they have already secured a £7.5 million investment as they aim to bring rugby league to the huge American sports market.

Bid co-founder Ricky Wilby says the team will be based in New York with home matches to be played at the Red Bull Arena soccer stadium.

Earlier in the week, England star Burgess said he would be attracted by the prospect of New York.

“New York, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of players putting their hands up to go play over there,” he said. “It would be a great place to live, to play the game, to travel.

“When you’re getting to the back end of your career … it’s an opportunity … I’ll see how my body’s holding up.”

Meanwhile, Canterbury flyer Josh Morris also revealed he would play in New York after falling in love with the place on his honeymoon.

“One hundred per cent — if they see rugby league as an option, and they’re interested, I’d certainly look at it, for sure,” Morris said.

“Who wouldn’t? To go over there and grow the game, it would be very appealing. I think it would be great for the game, to bring rugby league into America.”

New York’s proposal is set to be given the green light shortly by the RFL and will be a huge boost for the sport ahead of the 2025 World Cup in the United States and Canada.

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