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Exciting Times in New Zealand


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Several promising developments in New Zealand following the One New Zealand Warriors successful return home last year.

One New Zealand Warriors riding commercial boom | Warriors

Buoyed by the watershed 2023 campaign on and off the field, One New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George said the club is in its strongest commercial position in its history.

“We’ve come off an exceptional year in 2023 when we sold out multiple games and achieved fantastic sales in our hospitality and merchandise areas but what’s happening now for 2024 is nothing short of phenomenal,” he said.

In a further exciting development:

Free-to-air sport: Sky announces Friday Night Footy, Super Rugby Saturday to bring more free matches to NZ screens (msn.com)

Unprecedented.

The introduction of Free-to-air Friday Night Footy will see 25 NRL games shown free on Sky Open (formerly Prime) this season, with seven of those being Warriors matches, plus three further additional free matches, for Anzac Day, Magic Round & State of Origin I.

And to cap it all off a very confident former Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs Rugby League club chair talking about some big announcements being made before the NRL`s Las Vegas weekend about an 18th NRL license bid coming out of New Zealand`s South Island city of Christchurch.

Former Canterbury rugby league chair reckons the sport could expand to Christchurch (newstalkzb.co.nz)

It`s all happening.

 

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Great news. I know there have been a fair few threads over the last year on this vein, i.e how well the NZ Warriors have been doing in various areas, but they do really show how the sport is going from strength to strength in NZ.

Just need NZ2 to capitalise on it now.

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If the NRL are  prepared to  expand outside of the eastern seaboard  states,

  CH -CH is the  most logical place to do that. A team there would be well supported and be a success.  Another strong point is that it would keep more NZ talent in NZ.

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14 hours ago, The Rocket said:

The introduction of Free-to-air Friday Night Footy will see 25 NRL games shown free on Sky Open (formerly Prime) this season, with seven of those being Warriors matches, plus three further additional free matches, for Anzac Day, Magic Round & State of Origin I.

Just to add a little more on this, the last time viewing figures were produced by Sky, admittedly on their pay-tv offering, off the top of my head - and this was a few years ago - games not involving the Warriors averaged about 30 000 and Warrior`s matches about 70 - 80 000.

Interesting now that 18 matches not involving the Warriors have been given a prime-time Friday night time-slot, you`d have to think that to be given such a spot Sky must be fairly confident (or know) that interest has grown significantly. 

I`m not familiar with New Zealand tv viewing numbers but you`d have to think that to be given a prime-time Friday night spot in a country of five million, it`d have to be pulling over 100 000, and that`s being very conservative, possibly double that, also taking into account that the same game is being shown live on their Pay-tv station as well.

If this is a success, and a Kiwi 18th franchise can get their finances in order, they would be very hard to say no to.

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Just to be pedantic, Tony Kidd is from Canterbury RL as in Christchurch NZ, not the bulldogs.

If the South Island bid is as good as he’s making it out to be (fingers crossed) then they’ll be a very strong contender for team 18 and you’d have to imagine a certainty if the NRL goes to 20.

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I said FTA was the key to growing the game and it would seem that the penny has finally dropped.

With illegal streaming services on the increase and highlights on YouTube for everyone, it's great to see that FANS are being catered too and for which will encourage more attendance in the long run. 

As for NZII? I would be surprised if we get a side before Perth. The Aussies are pretty insular at the best of times and the only plus for us here in the shaky isles is we're nearer than WA.😎

 

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4 hours ago, Londonbornirishbred said:

I said FTA was the key to growing the game and it would seem that the penny has finally dropped.

With illegal streaming services on the increase and highlights on YouTube for everyone, it's great to see that FANS are being catered too and for which will encourage more attendance in the long run. 

As for NZII? I would be surprised if we get a side before Perth. The Aussies are pretty insular at the best of times and the only plus for us here in the shaky isles is we're nearer than WA.😎

 

You don’t have any need for those sunnies in NZ though.

An instant production line of talented rugby players to enter the RL framework is NZIIs strongest asset over Perth.

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Warriors win New Zealand`s sporting moment of the year competition.

One New Zealand Warriors take Sporting Moment | Warriors

"Another huge accolade for the One New Zealand Warriors tonight with the public voting the club the winner of 2023’s New Zealand Favourite Sporting Moment at the Halberg Awards tonight."

Incredible, of probably all the great moments that happened in N.Z. sport this year a moment from way back on April 2nd in a clash against the Sharks, at Cronulla`s home ground no less, proved the most popular for the New Zealand`s sport watching public.

 

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10 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Warriors win New Zealand`s sporting moment of the year competition.

One New Zealand Warriors take Sporting Moment | Warriors

"Another huge accolade for the One New Zealand Warriors tonight with the public voting the club the winner of 2023’s New Zealand Favourite Sporting Moment at the Halberg Awards tonight."

Incredible, of probably all the great moments that happened in N.Z. sport this year a moment from way back on April 2nd in a clash against the Sharks, at Cronulla`s home ground no less, proved the most popular for the New Zealand`s sport watching public.

 

The Halberg's are those kinds of awards where RL struggles to win anything, as is unfortunately typical for RL all over. I remember even when New Zealand RL won the World Cup they still couldn't even get the team of the year award.

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

Warriors win New Zealand`s sporting moment of the year competition.

One New Zealand Warriors take Sporting Moment | Warriors

"Another huge accolade for the One New Zealand Warriors tonight with the public voting the club the winner of 2023’s New Zealand Favourite Sporting Moment at the Halberg Awards tonight."

Incredible, of probably all the great moments that happened in N.Z. sport this year a moment from way back on April 2nd in a clash against the Sharks, at Cronulla`s home ground no less, proved the most popular for the New Zealand`s sport watching public.

 

It was a great game and it gave them the confidence they didn’t lose for the rest of the season. I was devastated 😂 

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7 hours ago, Damien said:

The Halberg's are those kinds of awards where RL struggles to win anything, as is unfortunately typical for RL all over. I remember even when New Zealand RL won the World Cup they still couldn't even get the team of the year award.

The guy in charge of the annual sports awards was on a talk back show and I rang him and asked why the Warriors making the GF that year didn't even warrant them being nominated. He said that RL was too small a sport to be considered. I pointed out another small sport having a nomination that year but he said it was still bigger than RL. I reminded him that in terms of public awareness and popularity, RL was streets ahead but he was unmoved. That was many years ago but shows what RL has faced historically.

Thankfully that sort of attitude is all but gone in NZ and RL is no longer being treated like that. 

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22 minutes ago, RayCee said:

The guy in charge of the annual sports awards was on a talk back show and I rang him and asked why the Warriors making the GF that year didn't even warrant them being nominated. He said that RL was too small a sport to be considered. I pointed out another small sport having a nomination that year but he said it was still bigger than RL. I reminded him that in terms of public awareness and popularity, RL was streets ahead but he was unmoved. That was many years ago but shows what RL has faced historically.

Thankfully that sort of attitude is all but gone in NZ and RL is no longer being treated like that. 

When you see how many times rowing and even canoeing have won awards you know that's rubbish.

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NZ2 really ramping things up now:

NRL: Southern NZ Warriors fans brace for their own team in 2026 expansion bid | Newshub

Hundreds have turned out just to watch NZ Warriors train before their pre-season encounter with Wests Tigers at Christchurch on Sunday - but soon they could have a team of their own. 

"A major announcement that will definitly put us in the boxseat to be the next club admitted into the NRL." said bid chief executive Tony Kidd.

The demand is clearly there. About 15,000 Christchurch league fans will pack out Apollo Projects Stadium, just for a preseason match.

"It's a proud rugby league area too," insisted Warriors coach Andrew Webster. "I think everyone forgets that."

South Island consortium seek Hollywood celebrity to back NRL team bid | Stuff

The group had forged relationships with “a non-NRL club in Australia and a Super League club in England, and would meet with American rugby league officials while in the United States.

He was confident that the South Island could support a professional rugby league franchise and said the aim was to have a NRL men’s team and a NRLW women’s team in place for the 2026 season.

Interesting.

 

 

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46 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

NZ2 really ramping things up now:

NRL: Southern NZ Warriors fans brace for their own team in 2026 expansion bid | Newshub

Hundreds have turned out just to watch NZ Warriors train before their pre-season encounter with Wests Tigers at Christchurch on Sunday - but soon they could have a team of their own. 

"A major announcement that will definitly put us in the boxseat to be the next club admitted into the NRL." said bid chief executive Tony Kidd.

The demand is clearly there. About 15,000 Christchurch league fans will pack out Apollo Projects Stadium, just for a preseason match.

"It's a proud rugby league area too," insisted Warriors coach Andrew Webster. "I think everyone forgets that."

South Island consortium seek Hollywood celebrity to back NRL team bid | Stuff

The group had forged relationships with “a non-NRL club in Australia and a Super League club in England, and would meet with American rugby league officials while in the United States.

He was confident that the South Island could support a professional rugby league franchise and said the aim was to have a NRL men’s team and a NRLW women’s team in place for the 2026 season.

Interesting.

 

 

I’ve read that Warriors have been resistant to NZ2 but surely now with the increased profile they have worked hard to build, it’s time to kick on. Suspect they’ll be guaranteed a sell out at a bigger venue than the 30,000 of their home grounds for their 2 derby fixtures in any event.

NZRU will be looking over it’s shoulder. 

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Christchurch and Perth are absolute necessities for the expansion of rugby league. They are markets that are crying out for rugby league.

Christchurch will massively grow the game in New Zealand. The New Zealand derby with the Auckland Warriors will be massive. But also it will create pathways for young New Zealand youth living on the South Island, thereby increasing the New Zealand and NRL player pool.

Perth is a city of over 2 million. It has local rugby league competitions. There are many migrants from the UK and South Africa living there. Perth desperately needs an NRL rugby league team to be able to recruit the existing local youth and senior players into a professional rugby league club.

Those two cities must be NRL franchises numbers 18 and 19.

I know that PNG wants a team as well. And the Australian Federal government wants a team there to be used as a source of Australian influence in the nation and as a counter to the dangers of active Chinese intrusion into the country. The question is whether a PNG team based in Port Moresby would be a practical possibility for fans given the precarious crime situation in the city. Fans of visiting Australian teams would not want to fly up there and stay for two nights in such a crime ridden environment.

Adelaide is also an option for the 20th team. The NRL has been taking club games and Origin games to Adelaide for years, so there has to be some fan base for the game there. An NRL team in Adelaide would complete the national expansion for the NRL around Australia.

After that there could be further expansion to 22 clubs with PNG and Fiji becoming the next additions in 2032. But a way for solving the security problem in Port Moresby must be addressed first.

Edited by Bradman Better
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56 minutes ago, frank said:

From what I hear it was 25,000. They really need  an NRL team there.

13,760. It was reported as sold out so not sure why it wasn’t closer to the capacity, stands looked full.

Still it’s a good crowd, especially for a trial. NRL game there in a few weeks will sell out as well if it hasn’t already.

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The big concern with Christchurch will be recruitment, which is the big concern with Auckland and Perth also. Producing local talent will be imperative as few top tier Australian players will be willing to live in Christchurch. This doesn't mean expansion is doomed, but it will be a challenge to build a regularly competitive team.

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