Footy heavyweights plan to bring the Bunnies to Manly in the US to open the 2023 season

The footy heavyweights plan to play the Bunnies at Manly in the United States to open the 2023 season – the Souths boss hoping an away fixture will become a regular fixture

  • Souths CEO Blake Solly backs Manly owner Scott Penn’s plan for the US
  • Both teams have Hollywood star power with Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman
  • Match in America was originally proposed for the 2019 season opener

A plan to write footy history by featuring Souths and Manly in the 2023 season opener in America has the crucial backing of two NRL heavyweights – with a club boss keen for the move to become a feature regular.

South Sydney CEO Blake Solly backed the proposal, which would have been first pushed by Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn and would see both teams sell rugby league to the huge US market.

And Solly hopes that an overseas game won’t just be a one-time game for the code.

“If it’s something the NRL wants to invest in for the long term and we understand that Manly is talking about playing there, we would like to be the opponent,” Solly told The Daily Telegraph.

“If the NRL thinks the United States is a serious opportunity, we are happy to support their efforts.”

Manly and Souths are a great fit for the plan due to their Hollywood star power. The Sea Eagles have a die-hard fan in Hugh Jackman…

...while Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe (seen watching a game with <a class=Chris Hemsworth, right) has obvious attraction in the US thanks to his glittering film career” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

…while Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe (seen watching a game with Chris Hemsworth, right) has obvious attraction in the US thanks to his glittering film career

Solly added that he was a big fan of the NFL’s decision to hold games in the UK every season and how that not only benefited the sport as a whole, but also the clubs that played there. ‘foreign.

The proposal to host a game in the United States fell through when the NRL tried to make it happen for the 2019 season with support from Channel Nine and Fox Sports.

Since then, sports betting has been legalized in several US states, opening up a new revenue stream to help the NRL fund the game.

Bunnies CEO Blake Solly (pictured) has put the club's weight behind the plan to play in the United States and hopes it will be more than a one-time event.

Bunnies CEO Blake Solly (pictured) has put the club’s weight behind the plan to play in the United States and hopes it will be more than a one-time event.

Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic (carrying the ball) will be a focal point to sell the game to America if the proposal materializes

Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic (carrying the ball) will be a focal point to sell the game to America if the proposal materializes

Manly and Souths are a great fit for the business because Bunnies owner Russell Crowe and die-hard Sea Eagles fan Hugh Jackman are so well known in the United States.

Bunnies co-owner, tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, also co-owns the Utah Jazz team in the US National Basketball League, and the team played an exhibition game against the Leeds Rhinos of the British Super League in Florida in 2008.

The game would take place a week before the start of the competition so that the two teams could recover from the time zone difference before their next games, the venue likely being the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

It wouldn’t be the first time a major rugby league game has been held in the United States, however; in 1987, teams from New South Wales and the home state of Queensland played an exhibition match in the Los Angeles suburb of Long Beach in an attempt to generate interest in the sport.

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