Anzac test could be coming to New Zealand

DAVID LONG
Last updated 11:22 16/02/2014

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The New Zealand Rugby League wants to host the Anzac test in this country next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli.

2015 will be a momentous year for both countries as Australia and New Zealand pay tribute to the Anzac soldiers who lost their lives in the World War I battle.

It will be an occasion to bring the two countries closer together and the NZRL wants to commemorate that by hosting the annual league game between the Kangaroos and Kiwis on this side of the Tasman.

As a result of wanting to host it in New Zealand next year, most likely in Auckland, the NZRL is understood to be happy to let Australia take it this year in Sydney and it looks set to be played at Allianz Stadium on May 2.

"I know it's in Sydney, I know it's on May 2 but they haven't confirmed the venue yet, but I think it's possibly going to be Allianz," NZRL boss Phil Holden told Sunday News.

"I am looking at 2015 simply because I think there is a big opportunity around the centenary perspective around the landings at Gallipoli and we'd like to be pretty focused around that."

Since the inception of the Anzac test in 1997, it has been held in New Zealand only twice, at North Harbour Stadium in 1998 and Eden Park in 2012. But while the NZRL is after the hosting rights for 2015, it's not a given that they'll get it.

"We are in discussions with the parties involved," Holden said. "We're talking to [Australia] and there are a whole lot of options up in the air and we'll see how that goes."

As yet, there have also been no announcements on when and where the Four Nations games will be held later this year and Holden says there have been complications around that because the Super League grand final isn't until October 11, while the NRL decider is a week earlier.

"What's compounded everything is that the English have moved the date of their grand final out by a week and that's thrown all of the timings out and created complications in Australia that we're still working through in terms of the venue for the final," Holden said.

"So as a consequence we've not been able to announce what we're doing here domestically, with the venues we're using to host our games. Hopefully that will be resolved in a week or so and we can make an announcement."

The NZRL also expects to announce the findings of their report within the next couple of weeks over allegations some Kiwis players misused prescription drugs during the World Cup. Their report is almost complete, but Holden said some parts of it won't be made available to the public.

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"We are clearly not going to share the report, but we'll be able to talk about what we've found out as much as we can," Holden said. "Clearly it's not straight forward, there are a lot of employment law issues and those sorts of things, but we will talk about what we've found."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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