Benji Marshall backs call for Wellington NRL team

St George-Illawarra playmaker Benji Marshall believes having a second NRL team in New Zealand would give rugby league a massive boost.

A bid to establish a second Kiwi club in Wellington has been officially launched in the last few weeks, with the aim to have a team ready to compete in 2018.

Should the team become established, then there are also plans to play an annual friendly against a Pacific nation, as well as to play games in other North Island cities such as Rotorua.

“I am all for it,” Marshall told media Down Under.

“There should be another team in New Zealand because the following has gotten so massive and if you look at the number of juniors and the amount of talent they have got coming through, it would be great and it is something they have to look at to help the game grow bigger over there.

“It would create a rivarly too because everyone who lives in Auckland loves Auckland and the people who don’t hate them so if they put in a Wellington team the rest of New Zealand will go for them 100 per cent.”

Consortium spokesman Robert Picone thinks that the time is right for another New Zealand team. The national side has just won the Four Nations, while 17.3 per cent of all NRL players come from the Land of the Long White Cloud.

“The interest in rugby league is at an all-time high in New Zealand due to the great work of the NZRL, the Warriors, the success of the Auckland 9’s and the triumphs of the National team,” Picone said.

“It is well documented the magnificent contribution New Zealand has made to the NRL including providing nearly 20 per cent of all NRL players.

“This will only improve with a second New Zealand team and all NRL clubs will benefit by an increase in playing talent,

If the bid is successful, the club will be based in the North Island with strong alliances to grass roots rugby league and the community.

“The financial model, which has been developed over the last 12 months, will enable the club to prosper long into the future as a community asset and not be beholden to any one individual.”

 

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