RFL Vice-President Mike Smith insists it’s not too late for Australia and New Zealand to have a change of heart about this year’s scheduled Rugby League World Cup
Tournament organisers are working relentlessly on the viability of the tournament and will consult all players and nations in the coming days to make a fully informed, player centric, decision.
Former Hull Kingston Rovers Chief Executive Smith has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in Rugby League, making friends and acquaintances around the world. As Dutton and his RLWC2021 team consider their options over the weekend, Smith is urging players and administrators in the southern hemisphere to give serious consideration to theirs too.
Mike Smith says: "I know a lot of good people in Australia through Rugby League and my message to them is: ‘the tournament won’t be the same without you, we want you here and there’s still time to reconsider, even at this late stage”.
"Rugby League is our common ground, something we all care passionately about. I know this decision hasn’t been taken lightly Down Under, but this tournament matters so much to Rugby League in the northern hemisphere in terms of growing the game, reaching new audiences and building a lasting legacy. We need your support.
"We need you to understand that player welfare is our consideration too and that tournament organisers have gone to enormous lengths to put every conceivable assurance in place.
"To my good friend Blake Solly at South Sydney Rabbitohs, to NRL CEO Andrew Abdo and to others such as Australia RL chair Peter V'landys I say: ‘listen to your players, hear their hopes and dreams, and pick up the phone to Jon Dutton. He’ll be delighted to speak with you."