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NRL players can showcase league to the US

AAP logoAAP 21/11/2016 Ian McCullough

The man behind securing the 2025 Rugby League World Cup for North America believes NFL interest in NRL players can be a platform for the creation of an elite level competition in the US.

Jason Moore, President of Moore Sports International, who brought Major League Baseball to the SCG in 2014, said league is a sport with a vast untapped potential in a country of over 300 million people.

Kangaroos winger Valentine Holmes and Dally M Medallist Jason Taumalolo are the latest NRL stars to head to the States for a free agent combine in Los Angeles next week.

And Moore, who divides his time between Sydney and the US, said Jarryd Hayne's year-long stint with the San Francisco 49ers, briefly pricked America's interest in the sport where he made his name.

"In our research we've found there's something similar about the running lines of rugby league and rugby union and the NFL backs," Moore told AAP.

"Catch, pass, run straight. Jarryd Hayne basically showcased all that we have been saying.

"It's a pity for us that he didn't just kick on a little bit more.

"But having said that, to do what he did and achieve what he achieved was unbelievable."

The chances of Holmes and Taumalolo emulating Hayne as a result of this trial are slim, given the competition that they will come up against.

But Moore is hoping one day top NRL players will consider signing for a team in the US as an alternative to the English Super League.

"We've been working on this for over 10 years," Moore said.

"Not so much the World Cup but developing a rugby code in the US.

"Although rugby has made big strides over there, American viewers do not like sports where TV loses track of the ball.

"They love physical, gladiatorial sports that are played at a fast pace."

Moore admits selling the game to America will be tough, but said plans are already afoot for a 10-12-team competition made up of city franchises in the US and Canada and containing local players within the next five years.

"College kids are a massive market for teams, as are the high school kids that don't make it to college," he said.

"About 30,000 high school kids go for 11,000 college places, then about 160 will make it to the NFL.

"So there's a hell of a lot of 18-23 year olds with not much to do that have been trained like professional athletes to catch, pass run and tackle."

"It's a massive challenge, but we've a great way to engage with the fans through their love of contact sports.

"In America, you have to think big or you will get booed off the stage."

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