Phil Gould endorses NRL plans to purchase Super League

NRL logo & Jake Arthur (Manly Sea Eagles), Adam Reynolds (Brisbane Broncos), Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters) stood in front of the Las Vegas Nevada sign


Leading Australian pundit Phil Gould has become the latest high-profile figure to endorse suggestions that the NRL could purchase Super League.

Senior figures from Rugby League Commercial and IMG were in Las Vegas over the weekend for the NRL’s blockbuster season-opener, which has earned rave reviews and potentially opened the door for a long-term growth plan in the USA. Peter V’Landys has already admitted that Super League is included in the plans for growth Stateside, too.

But the fuel was really thrown on the fire last month when Matty Johns suggested he had heard rumours the NRL were interested in purchasing Super League to potentially have control of both of the rugby league world’s leading domestic competitions.

And Gould, speaking on his Six Tackles with Gus podcast, fully endorsed the idea to help strengthen the rugby league brand across the world.

“There was talk last week of the NRL purchasing the UK Super League, which I think is a great idea,” Gould said. “I recommended this four or five years ago. It’s a perfect gap between us and the US and I have no doubt that we will see a World Club Challenge in Vegas as part of a season-opening weekend. I have no doubt that we will see a women’s game in Vegas. That’s the organic growth, showing the US not just our product but also our inclusiveness with men and women and showing that we’re international.

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“By bringing clubs from England to play against Australian clubs in the US, we could have a two-weekend thing. We could play the World Club Challenge the weekend before, and then you could play the NRL. I don’t know about availability and all of that, but we’ve got to keep making a noise.”

Gould also believes that if the NRL does own Super League, it would have a beneficial impact for English rugby league, as well as Australian Rugby League – suggesting the NRL could effectively then run the entire game: including the international arena.

“I think we could really help the UK game,” Gould explained. “I think we could then get rid of what I think is a really ineffective international rugby league board, and we could have the NRL being the EPL of world rugby league. The game should emanate here from the NRL. The NRL should run world rugby league.

“There could be development pathways between competitions, getting back to international football, international timetables that go over five years, there’s a lot of things that can help if you’ve got control of the whole thing; the international game, the UK Super League, which is the second biggest competition, and we can help New Zealand, which we’ve got to do.

“There’s a real opportunity in New Zealand. We’ve got to have another team there and pathways and programmes to help them over there. The Pacific Islands—we’ve all seen the huge opportunity there too—so bring it all under one banner and have one body control the whole lot. That should be the aim.”

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