NRL: Second bid emerges for Christchurch-based 'Kea' franchise to rival NZ Warriors

It's football, but not as you know it.

Two weeks ago, Hollywwod star Russell Crowe was the voice of an NRL charm offensive, promoting the season-opener at Las Vegas in a bid to tap into the lucrative US market.

Part of that NRL expansion has now filtered down to the South Island of New Zealand. 

"One of the things I'm absolutely 100 percent sure of is that us mainlanders like to stick it to the Aucklanders," said former NRL and NZ Rugby chief executive David Moffett, who is joining forces with former Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos to launch the South Island Kea rugby league franchise.

David Moffett and the proposed Kea colours.
David Moffett and the proposed Kea colours. Photo credit: Newshub

"We're actually going to be including in the ownership of the South Island Kea the fans by way of either co-operative or shares," he said.  

They're aiming to be the 18th team to join the competition - an expansion the NRL wants to make by 2026 and they already like their chances, with chairman Peter V'Landys telling media at Vegas: "A new team from New Zealand's South Island is a real possibility.

"The Warriors have been wonderful for the game, there is a lot of support in New Zealand."  

Moffett said: "We'll be definitely focusing on local talent and trying to get them signed, before those bloody Aussies come over here and sign them."  

He joins fellow Cantab Tony Kidd, who announced his bid in early February.  

"We believe were the best option in 2026 and we’ll be ready to go," said Moffet.  

In recent weeks, Kidd says he's has had productive discussions with senior NRL leadership, partners and investors, and everyone supported the bid as an expansion club. Newshub understands he could announce the first investor as early as next week 

Both bids want to be based at the new 30,000-seat Te Kaha stadium at Christchurch. 

"When the new stadium opens in 2026, we’ll be there playing at an absolute buster of a game against the Warriors," said Moffett.  

That's a rivalry surely worth the wait.