Murdoch Helps Set up USA -
Australia Test Match

Lachlan Murdoch has acted as a go-between to arrange a rugby league Test match between Australia and the United States in New York later this year, US league official David Niu said today.

"We've had some support in that area (from Murdoch)," Niu said.

"He's been involved in discussions."

Murdoch, News Corporation's deputy chief operating officer and son of Rupert, has been an avid rugby league fan since he helped his father launch the Super League raid on the game in 1995.

Discussions are well underway for the Test to take place in New York as the Kangaroos are returning from England later in the year, where they will meet Great Britain and New Zealand in a tri-series tournament.

Niu said the match had a large potential audience.

"The ARL has expressed interest for it to take place at the end of the tri-series," Niu said.

"Obviously, from the football side of things, the game would be fairly lopsided at this stage of our development, but the things around it would be wonderful for us.

"New York City has many expats - I think there's 18,000 just in Manhattan alone - so if we could get just a fraction of those people, it would be great."

The United States is currently in Australia to participate in a couple of trial matches, beginning with a half of football against Canberra at Seiffert Oval on Saturday night.

The Tomahawks will also meet a team of St George legends in Sydney next week.

Niu, who played 16 first grade games for St George in the early 1990s, said the American National Rugby League competition was growing stronger.

"We're about to kick off our seventh season in May," Niu said.

"We've got eight teams ... (with) a good geographical spread across the Northeast.

"We're starting to get some high school and college programs going, coupled with TV coverage of the NRL on Friday night on Fox Sports (US)."

Niu said he didn't have ratings figures but said the total potential audience was 24 million.

The US has a busy international schedule in 2004, with matches scheduled against Ireland, Japan and Russia.