Hollywood actor and Leeds superfan Matt Lewis believes Toronto Wolfpack could propel rugby league to the next level.
The Harry Potter star is a huge Rhinos fan – and is a regular at Headingley when he is over in the UK.
Now living in Florida, Lewis watches most Super League games online and believes there is a gap in the North American market for the sport.
He told Sky Sports’ Golden Point Podcast: “I do think this expansion into Canada could be a game changer because we play at a different time of year to American football so there isn’t a clash there and I think that if we can get people to engage for a very small amount of time then they will buy into it.
“I put the Leeds-Toronto game on a couple of months ago in a bar and all the Americans that were lined up on the bar having a few beers turned from whatever they were watching and they watched the game with me.
“They had no clue what was going on but they said ‘this is great, I’m into this’ and they liked the impact and the fact there are no helmets or pads.
“If you could get people to watch it, you don’t have to get them to watch it for long and they’ll buy into it.”
Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films, believes the sport should try to promote the characters in rugby league to help grow the game.
He added: “Instead of trying to sell rugby league, maybe we need to start selling personalities and I think there are some legs there.
“I don’t know much about American football to be honest but I know Tom Brady, Odell Beckham Jr, Eli Manning – but I don’t know who they play for or what they’ve done but I know their names, so I wonder if there is something there about selling personalities.
“I like the down to earth nature of rugby league players that they are no-nonsense. I always thought that Brian McDermott was great for that after games. He didn’t pull punches and I know he got in trouble for some of it but people like to see that, it’s exciting when players and coaches tell the truth.”
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