NRL in talks with Sea Eagles for Chinese fixture

MICHAEL CHAMMAS
Last updated 22:11 03/12/2013

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Manly will meet with the NRL on Wednesday morning to discuss a groundbreaking game in China, which has been pencilled in for round eight against Canberra.

The Herald understands the NRL are still weighing up whether to fork out up to $1 million for the game scheduled to take place at either Brookvale Oval or in China on Sunday, April 27, and will meet with the Sea Eagles to discuss the logistics of the exercise on Wednesday morning.

The NRL will also reveal the 2014 draw, which will see premiers Sydney Roosters do battle against the Sea Eagles in the grand final rematch on Friday, March 28 (round four) at Allianz Stadium.

But the biggest talking point from the draw is whether the NRL are willing to take a match to Asia to promote the sport.

The game against the Raiders in China has been scheduled on the week before the representative round, allowing both teams to recover from the nine hour flight and time difference.

But the likes of Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Anthony Watmough, Josh Papalii could have to rush home if they are selected to play in the Kangaroos-Kiwis Test match five days later.

Several fringe representative players will also have to make the mad dash back to join City and Country Origin camps in Dubbo ahead of the annual clash on Sunday, May 4.

The NRL have employed an independent consultant, Tom Parker, to research the landmark venture to China.

The Melbourne-based Parker helped mastermind the 2010 AFL exhibition match between Melbourne and Brisbane Lions in Shanghai.

In other news Ben Barba will return to Homebush in round one with his new club Brisbane to do battle against the Bulldogs on Friday night.

The Rabbitohs will host the Roosters on Thursday night to open the year. While arch rivals Melbourne and Manly will do battle at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night on the opening round.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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