Kiwi league boss keen to keep OZ in in loop
New Zealand Rugby League CEO Jim Doyle has unveiled a bold plan to win over the bosses of the 15 NRL clubs based in Australia.
Doyle and NZRL football manager Tony Kemp will fly across the ditch on Wednesday to meet Phil Gould and Penrith Panthers officials.
It will be the first of many meetings scheduled with NRL clubs in the coming months and Doyle said the intention was to sell the key decision-makers on what was happening in New Zealand.
"We want to build stronger relationships with the NRL clubs," Doyle said.
"We want to convey to them what the NZRL is doing and the pathways we are creating, the camps we are holding over here, and to talk about our national competitions and everything like that. It's so that they can get a better understanding that we are now building the game over here and creating pathways for players, coaches and referees.
"We are doing that so that when the time comes where there are meetings where they are discussing certain things that are going to affect us, they will be supportive of us because they know what we are trying to do rather than having no idea."
Doyle said he hoped the Australian NRL clubs would realise that the days of signing young Kiwi players and immediately moving them to Australia to complete their development were over.
"In the past few years, New Zealand rugby league hasn't really had any pathways or opportunities and therefore the NRL clubs have come across here, found a really good 16-year-old, and they've had no choice but to take them to Australia," Doyle said.
"There haven't really been any high-level high-performance camps like now.
"One of the key things, we are hoping, is that when those NRL clubs identify those really good 15 and 16-year-olds they will leave them here from now on.
"They won't take them across to Australia and take them away from their families where they can go off the rails.
"They will leave them here with family because they know they will go through a good system over here."
Doyle, meanwhile, said he was extremely confident the proposed Kiwi Origin concept, which will see Australian and Auckland-born Kiwis take on their national team-mates born in other regions of New Zealand, would begin in 2013.
"We've been working with the NRL and pushing them for quite some time to get it going," Doyle said.
"We've talked to Stephen Kearney, we've talked to Benji Marshall, and we've gone through it with them and they are all very supportive of it as a concept.
"It will help raise the profile of the game here and will obviously help the NZRL get additional income so we can reinvest it into our grassroots."
The New Zealand Origin match would take place once a year from 2013 onwards.