NRL team bid for Christchurch
An NRL club based in Christchurch?
The proposal seems outrageous, but that hasn't prevented Jim Doyle trumpeting that an NRL club could be based in the city in 2015.
The New Zealand Rugby League boss has boldly stated a multimillion-dollar rugby league club could be a reality in Christchurch as the NRL aims to expand the competition to 18 teams in three years.
With the Warriors making last year's final and the Kiwis also holding their own in recent seasons, Doyle argued rugby league's playing numbers had doubled in the past two years and that "there is significant growth in viewership".
"There is no doubt that when expansion takes place there will be a proposal for a second NRL side here."
The rebuild of earthquake-battered Christchurch meant a team could be based in the city and some matches could be played in Dunedin's new Forsyth Barr stadium, Doyle added.
Former Kiwis and Warriors coach Frank Endacott was also enthusiastic yesterday. "Absolutely, it can happen, it is just what this city needs."
Endacott said he was aware a small group of people had been working on the concept of starting a team in Christchurch.
"It is at the very early stages and, hopefully, it will go well."
Canterbury Rugby Football League general manager Craig Kerr was more cautious.
"Whether it's viable or not is a moot point. But there is no doubt it would be good for rugby league in Christchurch," he said.
There are also backers for teams from Perth, Brisbane and the Central Coast to join the NRL.
Seven bids have already been confirmed, from Perth (two), Brisbane, Ipswich, Central Coast, Central Queensland and Papua New Guinea.
- © Fairfax NZ News
How far will the Crusaders go this year?Related story: Crusaders: Injury ends Taylor's season