WIGAN and Hull have an opportunity to beat the drum for Super League when they meet in Wollongong, Australia, today.
The 2017 Challenge Cup finalists are happy to risk early-season disruption by taking part in the first Super League fixture to be staged outside Europe.
The game was the initiative of Wigan owner Ian Lenagan and rugby director Kris Radlinski, and Hull’s executive director James Clark says his club jumped at the chance to join them.
“This is a landmark occasion for our sport and is generating significant national and regional media interest on both sides of the world,” Clark said.
“The mainstream media seem intent on making comparisons to rugby union and the [Australian] NRL so this has become another opportunity to showcase how forward-thinking and innovative we are in Super League.”
Clark says his club hope to boost player recruitment and are already starting to cash in on the trip, which is part-funded by the New South Wales tourist board.
Wigan and Hull will stay on in Australia for a second week and play South Sydney and St George Illawarra respectively in a friendly double-header at the ANZ Stadium.
Today’s game takes place as negotiations continue to take a Super League fixture to New York this summer as part of the push to expand rugby league in North America following the successful launch of the Toronto team.
Clark said he believed it could be “the first of many” such initiatives.
“Whether that be in Australia, Canada, [the US] or even other European destinations,” he said.
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