USA aim to build Cup legacy before 2025

They were supposed to be the feelgood story of the last rugby league World Cup.

But the United States’ surprise 2013 quarter-final appearance has left current coach Brian McDermott feeling anything but, slamming the former Hawks side for not creating a legacy before the country hosts the 2025 tournament.

The Hawks loaded up on Australians four years ago, with just seven players technically based in the US in their 22-strong squad in 2013.

McDermott said that negated any success the Americans had at the tournament.

With momentum building behind a New York-based team entering the English competition in 2019, McDermott believed it was now up to his current Hawks side to raise the profile of the sport in the US before they host the tournament in eight years.

McDermott – also coach of English Super League side Leeds – said it was tempting to “fiddle with passports” and name Australian-based players for the tournament but believed it would defeat the Hawks’ purpose.

“We could have done something different in picking a squad which would create more headlines but what legacy would it leave for us – it would be limited,” he said.

“We could fiddle with their passports and draft in bigger names but to get them to play for us at the expense of USA boys is the wrong way of doing it.

“They were one of the stories of the 2013 tournament, but there was no legacy.

“None of the players went back to America, no coaches went back to America, no one was able to go over there and say ‘this is what it is about’.

“If we are going to be pragmatic about it, we have to make the World Cup and the next one after that a really strong one for us.”

McDermott did concede that league’s profile was growing in North America with Canada’s Toronto Wolfpacks’ success in England and high profile NRL players showing interest in the proposed New York team.

Toronto earned promotion to the second tier Championship in England in their first season, prompting speculation up to six North American teams would be contesting the UK competition in five years.

“There’s certainly interest whether it be New York or Canada, you can tell there is an appetite for it over there,” McDermott said.

“With enough investment, resources and campaigns like this it could really take off.”

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