2nd New Zealand NRL Team Under

NRL Chief Operating Officer Graham Annesley met last week to discuss the proposal for a second team from NZ in the Telstra Premiership with NZRL Director Andrew Chalmers. ?The official position being put forward at present by the NRL is that at this point in time there are no plans to expand beyond the current numbers. The NRL have domestic issues which require addressing before considering any expansion options? stated Chalmers. The NZRL remains committed to facilitating the entry of a second New Zealand based franchise. ?The NZRL has told the NRL that it would push forward to put in place structures and mechanisms to support a southern franchise based in Wellington, in anticipation of the NRL revising it?s stance at a point in the future. Detailed planning for the second franchise has already commenced? stated Chalmers. The clear message is that while there are no plans for a change in format, if and when it does happen we should be prepared. The NZRL view is it is only a question of when. Chalmers said ?A team could be ready to go for the 2007 season. We will base our planning around this timeframe?. ?The NRL recognises the importance of a strategic partnership and alignment of objectives between the NRL and the NZRL, in relation to the ongoing development of the game both domestically and internationally?, Chalmers said. Discussions have already commenced this week with David Gray, CEO of the Westpac Trust Stadium. Stadium officials are reported to be enthusiastic and excited at the prospect.