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Hybrid Challenge in aid of tsunami
Negotiations have begun to bring the best of the NRL and Super 12 together in a cross-code challenge to raise funds for the victims of Asia's devastating tsunamis.
League Correspondent has unearthed moves in the past few days to have composite league and union teams play off at Telstra Stadium, following the success of cricket's charity game in Melbourne.
The league team would comprise a representative from each NRL club, while the rugby team would be made up of players from each of the Super 12 teams.
Wallaby winger Lote Tuqiri and Kangaroos utility Craig Wing have already thrown their support behind the idea of a hybrid game which could pit the likes of league champion Andrew Johns against Wallaby super star George Gregan.
The match would be played in mid to late February with a sell-out crowd of 80,000 a mere formality.
"I'd put my hand up for it," Tuqiri said last night.
"There have been a heap of things done to support the tsunami victims and I'd certainly get behind this.
"It sounds like it would be fun and it would be interesting to see how a few of the league blokes would go if there are lineouts."
Moves for the game began after the overwhelming success of cricket's Rest of the World versus Asia match at the MCG last Monday, which raised more than $14m in tsunami relief funds.
For clubs unwilling to expose their players to the risk of injury on the eve of a new season, they would be allowed to nominate a recently retired player, such as Gorden Tallis or Brad Fittler.
It was reported last night that former Wallaby captain John Eales would be approached to fill rugby's coach/manager role, as Steve Waugh did for the Rest of the World team.
It is believed Telstra Stadium management are behind the idea, but no one was willing to comment yesterday.
NRL chief executive David Gallop was positive about any attempts to raise further aid for victims, but had not been presented with a formal proposal.
"I heard speculation about it on Friday," Gallop said.
"It would obviously be for a great cause, but we haven't received a proposal about it at this stage.
"We've been involved in some significant fund-raising efforts over the last couple of weeks. The league contributed $100,000 at the MCG on Monday and our clubs and players have made separate contributions in excess of $200,000.
"We'd need to consult a number of parties before taking it further."
Wing, who had his first training session of the year with the Sydney Roosters last Friday, said the risk of injury would be a concern to clubs.
"But the whole concept sounds fun, especially for a guy like me who has played rugby union," Wing said.