NRL great Anthony Minichiello hopes Sydney Roosters’ second Adelaide Oval match in as many seasons can help build the platform for a professional rugby league club in SA.
The former NSW and Kangaroos full back was in Adelaide to promote the Roosters’ clash with Melbourne Storm at the iconic venue on June 29.
He said the success of last year’s fixture between the sides at the Oval, as well as the recent deal to host a State of Origin game in 2020, had given the code a lift in SA.
Minichiello said the high-profile matches might also lay the long-term foundations for an Adelaide-based NRL franchise, two decades after the Rams exited the competition.
“It’s a huge boost,” Minichiello, 37, said. “We want to spread our wings with the NRL and try to take our best product on the road.
“The (Australian Rugby League Commission) chairman Peter Beattie has said that expansion is on the cards and that means hopefully a number of states. Brisbane is vying for another team, then Perth is in the mix and hopefully SA is in the mix as well.
“It’s a really good town down here and the people have welcomed us with open arms and been really positive about rugby league.”
Minichiello met with SA state teams on Monday and visited several schools across Adelaide’s southern suburbs yesterday to discuss health and nutrition, as well as league.
He praised the atmosphere created by 21,492 fans who watched the Roosters’ dramatic golden-point win over the Storm at the Oval last June.
The two-time premiership winner, who played 302 games for Sydney from 2000-14, hoped more South Australians would be exposed to the sport next month.
“Obviously it’s an AFL-dominated town here, so we want to get kids and families knowing that there is a big game here ... at the great Adelaide Oval,” the Roosters ambassador said.
“Last year was our first official dip of our toe in the water down in Adelaide and it really worked well for us.
“For Sydney Roosters, it’s trying to capture some fans and some members.”
Article: Rob Greenwood, The Advertiser May 8th 2018