NRL eyes Hawaii as potential venue

NRL teams could soon play a fixture in the American state of Hawaii, as both codes of rugby are eyeing up the islands as a potential venue for marquee clashes.

Kelly McGill, the former USA national team coach and current head of Grand Pacific Events, believes that Hawaii, with its large Polynesian population, is fertile ground for rugby league.

“We’re really serious about this,” he said, according to the Brisbane Courier-Mail.

“We’ve already done the science from a tourism point of view to establish whether we could handle extra capacity on air routes from Brisbane and Sydney.

“We’re ready to rock.”

McGill believes that NRL fixtures, a Nines tournament, or even a State of Origin clash could be staged in the state.

Hawaii has a large population of expat Pacific Islanders, and last weekend hosted the Ohana Cup.

This featured three fixtures, with Samoa residents, Tonga residents, Fiji residents, Canada, the NSW Police Service and a local Hawaii team tangling.

The main football stadium in Hawaii, the 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium, has just had a new playing surface laid which better suits rugby.

Penrith Panthers have apparently considered taking a trial game against Brisbane to the state.

An NRL spokesman outlined that the league governing bodies were carefully considering the plan.

“We would always explore new opportunities to grow the game in regions outside of the game’s traditional areas,” he said.

“There is clearly a growing interest in the game in the region and the Ohana Cup over the weekend has been well received by locals.”

New Zealand‘s national rugby union side, the All Blacks, is also considering taking a match to Hawaii, according to reports.

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