Nines expansion could scupper Club Challenge

Last updated 17:21 15/02/2014

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Moves to expand the NRL Nines into a global event could scupper plans to expand the World Club Challenge.

Ahead of the Sydney Roosters' Allianz Stadium clash with Wigan on Saturday in the game's global club showpiece, Leeds boss Gary Hetherington is leading a chorus for the event to be expanded to include six teams.

But with moves afoot to expand the NRL Nines after its phenomenal first-year success with English clubs Bradford and Wigan expressing an interest in participating, the World Club Challenge could take a back seat.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith revealed in the lead-up to the Nines start on Saturday that the event could expand next season.

"We have already attracted attention and interest from the international clubs who want to be part of the format," Smith.

"We chose not to do that this year because we want to land this tournament but there is lots of interest.

"Were committed to staging the Nines in Auckland for at least three years with a two-year option and I believe the event will get bigger and bigger."

NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle later indicated the growth of the Nines could take precedence over the expansion of the World Club Challenge.

With NRL head of football Todd Greenberg saying the Indigenous All Stars concept will be revived next year it makes for a busy pre-season schedule.

"It is a matter of finding the space to fit these things in and that is what we have to do," Doyle said.

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