|The annual North South game. Pic: http://www.usarl.org/|
The American National Rugby League (AMNRL) organised a rugby league competition in the United States from 1998 to 2013. The AMNRL was also involved with organising the United States national rugby league team, the Tomahawks. I would like to write about that annual domestic competition and may do so yet, but getting enough information would be a challenge. If anyone can help there, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the life of the AMNRL, not a lot of progress took place. Distances are an issue and funding another. Then in 2011, a new body was set up to run another domestic competition, the USARL. It eventually prevailed and had an objective to take the game forward.
Has it achieved that goal? Partially but not as mush as it hoped for, you would think. Taking a sport beyond some enthusiastic individuals running some regional clubs to taking it further and further until it has national coverage and is getting increasing media attention is a huge step up.
In reality, the USARL is a slightly large version of its predecessor, but essentially it hasn't gone to another level. That's not a criticism, but a reality check. Today it takes money and astute backers to move a game forward. In addition, a pro team playing in the UK would be a great way to lift the profile of RL in the US.
I will run a series from 2011 forward each year as we look at what has happened in US RL since the start of the USARL.