Former Australian international Billy Moore urged the NRL to put his records together and set an appropriate test calendar for the next ten years to take advantage of Tonga’s rise.
Tonga shocked the league world at its foundations in 2017, when Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita led a string of great NRL stars who changed allegiance to the island nation from New Zealand and Australia, respectively.
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They beat the kiwis in the quarterfinals, before beating both Britain and kangaroos last year.
The argument is always that there is little money to be made with trial football, but Moore says one comes after another. With regular tests, there are regular sources of income.
Too often, it has been an afterthought built around the NRL and Super League national seasons.
“The NRL and Super League clubs to a lesser extent must align,” said Moore foxsports.com.au.
“I know that clubs pay money, but when we get an internationally recognized product that is better recognized and guaranteed to be played – as long as networks, advertisers know there is a product – we can sell it.
“The more revenue you get, the more it scatters. It is a chicken and an egg.
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“Look at our biggest rival in the Australian sports scene: the AFL.
“Mine, if the AFL had Tonga and all its fans knocking on the door saying” look how good our players are “, the AFL would be on it like a cheap suit.
“They would have financed the right and central part, selling it, marketing it, playing tests and developing it. But they can’t do it, because they don’t have an international game.
“Our biggest opposition envies what we have and we must seize the opportunity, it offers us another revenue stream.”
Despite the historical achievements of Tonga, we don’t know when they will play in New Zealand, Britain or Australia. In this year, nor in 2021.
Moore says the league should be proactive.
While the rise of Tonga was 100% driven by the player, other nations with a little encouragement and intervention from the game’s governing bodies could follow their path.
“At the end of the 2013 World Cup, the number one priority was to have a fourth nation, we got it and kissed it on the c ** k,” said Moore.
“What we need to do now, before the end of the next World Cup in 2021, is that we need Fiji or Samoa.
“With the increase of Polynesian players in our game – and this will only continue – we need more of those children playing for those countries and not playing for NSW or Queensland in Origin. We also need something in Europe.
“Go buy a team of French rugby players and grow the sport there to show the children that they can make money. France is where the money is. “