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“We need Great Britain to be strong” – Phil Gould says NRL should be sole governing body in rugby league

NRL and Super League rugby league

Phil Gould, former NRL star and heach coach, currently General Manager for the Canterbury Bulldogs, has suggested that NRL should buy Super League to take rugby league to “another level”.

Super League has struggled for interest for a few years now, while NRL is going from strength-to-strength, with a solid Magic Round and, most recently, a stunning 90,000 attendance for State of Origin Game II in Melbourne at the MCG.

Speaking, however, about how the league could be used to help the sport across the world, Phil Gould reiterated one of his long-held ideas.

He said: “The international board is a toothless tiger and just sort of fills in with international football when it can. We need a rolling five year calendar for domestic rugby league, international rugby league and other forms of representative football right across the board. It can only be done if you’ve got one governing body for the lot.

“I spoke to the NRL Commission about this and said that unless you do it, then international rugby league will never realise its full potential.”

QUIZ: Can you identify these former Super League players?

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Phil Gould: “Rugby league can go to another level” if Super League is bought

NZ Warriors fans in NRL Super League

Credit: Imago Images

Gould continued, and suggested that the deal could change the sport as a whole: “I think from an international standpoint, if the NRL was running world Rugby League, then we could go to a five and ten year calendar and organise our domestic competition and international as well.”

With NRL controlling the game across the world, there could be cohesive decision-making on both the calendar and how the game should be marketed.

He continued: “It’s a big job, but I think Rugby League can go to another level, rather than just ad-hoc doing what we’re doing.”

“It’s not necessarily about doing it to bring players over to play in the NRL. It’s to make the Super League strong. We need Great Britain to be strong. There’s still an opportunity in Europe and France to resurrect the game and get it back to a very strong hold there.”

Indeed, IMG was brought in as a response to dwindling interest in the British game, which was perhaps perfectly shown by the test game against France last week which saw no television coverage and a tiny crowd in Toulouse.

Nations such as Samoa and Tonga have seen increasing success recently, and the game in New Zealand has seen a surge in popularity.

Gould said: “We need Pacific islands developed and we need New Zealand particularly. There is a real opportunity for rugby league in New Zealand at the moment.

“I’m talking about 10, 20, 30 years down the track what the game is going to be like. I’m talking If we’re still bumbling around doing what we’re doing now, then we haven’t used the money wise and we haven’t advanced it.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Eric T Cat

    July 1, 2024 at 5:18 pm

    He’s right, the entire sport should be run from Australia, they don’t mess about, they don’t bend their knee to the RFU. The sooner it’s done the better.

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