New York franchise already inundated with interest from players and coaches

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The man behind the New York franchise which has applied to join the Rugby Football League in 2019 has revealed how they have already been inundated with interest from both players and coaches about joining the new side.

Last week, it was announced by the franchise that they had lodged their application to join the English leagues in 2019, and the man at the heart of the bid, Ricky Wilby, has detailed to League Express how “quality” applicants have already reached out to be the coach of any prospective team.

He said: “We’ve had a few coaches express interest and a few CVs have come to me, which is great.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since we announced it and it’s been remarkable. We’ve had some quality coaches want to be involved and we’ll start to sift through the applications as and when the time is right.”

Wilby would not divulge on the identity of those who have expressed an interest in coaching, but it is understood almost a dozen names have applied already.

Last week, Australia forward Paul Gallen admitted he would open to the possibility of speaking to the New York team in regards to playing for them, and Wilby revealed he is planning on using his upcoming trip to Australia for the World Cup to speak to several high-profile agents.

He said: “I’m every agents’ best friend. I’m going to Australia for the World Cup and I’ve got lots of coffee meetings lined up. The interest has been remarkable.

“Would the likes of Paul Gallen and Sam Burgess be interested in coming to Super League? Probably not, so if we can open the gateway to get guys like that into English rugby league, that’s something we’ve got to press on with.

“It’s wrong of me to approach players – we need to put a coach in place and it wouldn’t be up to me to sign people, would it? It’s up to me to negotiate I guess, but any coach will give me a shopping list and we work from there.”

It was initially reported that the franchise had already agreed terms to play at New York’s Red Bull Arena – however, Wilby has stressed that they are one of a number of potential venues.

Approval from the RFL could arrive by the end of the year, and Wilby insisted that once they get the green light, finding the coach will be high on their priority list.

“100 per cent,” he said.

“With Toronto, I think Paul Rowley put his stamp on the side straight away and brought in players he knew and trusted.

“It’s crucial for us because there’s a deadline midway through next year where players are available to speak to other clubs so we need to be putting a squad together which will be competitive from the off.”

To listen to a full, in-depth interview with Wilby on the New York expansion project, simply click here!