July 06, 2022
Rotorua NRL All Stars should be just a start
A former National Rugby League player says the NRL needs to do more for the code in Aotearoa than run NRL Indigenous All-Star games in Rotorua.
The 12th All-Stars fixture – and the fifth between the Māori and Australian Indigenous teams – will be at the Rotorua International Stadium next year.
Māori sports commentator Tony Kemp says the games between the men’s and women’s teams could pack out stadiums in any city in New Zealand, but Rotorua has been a centre for Māori tournaments.
He says Aotearoa is an important recruiting area for the NRL, and it needs to do more to support the code here, especially at the grassroots level.
“I don’t think any input from the NRL as far as a game goes anywhere near a spot where it looks after the game locally. Yes, it’s fantastic, but the real issue is in a systemic problem we have in New Zealand with our national body that doesn’t recognise our local game,” he says.
Tony Kemp says the All-Stars game will be an economic boom for the sulphur city.