American sports expert hits the NRL with bizarre comparison in sign footy still has work to do to win over US audience

  • An American sports expert made a bizarre footy comparison  
  • He compared NRL to ‘human cockfighting’  
  • The NRL hit Las Vegas for the first time this weekend 

An American sports expert has compared the NRL to ‘human cockfighting’ after footy hit US audiences for the first time on Sunday. 

The historic double header at Allegiant Stadium gave American sports fans a glimpse into rugby league, with Sydney Roosters, Brisbane Broncos, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Manly Sea Eagles on display in Las Vegas.

NRL chiefs are excited that the American experiment could see ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ injected into the game, with Peter V’landys viewing the move as a five-year project. 

And, judging by reaction on social media, the response to rugby league was a mixed bag on Sunday. 

‘Aye, this #NRLVegas is hella fun to watch,’ one fan said. ‘Australia s wild. Almost everything that moves there can kill you, including rugby.

American audiences may need a bit of time to get used to the NRL

One American sports writer labelled the sport 'human cockfighting' on a live blog

One American sports writer labelled the sport ‘human cockfighting’ on a live blog

‘It’s brutal. I’m all in, though! The one team scored, and I have no clue about the rules, but let’s go.’

Others were more sceptical. 

‘Watching the new rugby league in the US being played on FS1. I really do enjoy rugby but I don’t watch it. I played one year and I still don’t really understand the rules. It’s an absolutely brutal sport to play and to watch.’

It may also take time for American media to get on board, with it pointed out by one fan that none of the Vegas publications had covered the NRL during the opening 25 minutes of the Manly game.

But American sports writer David Lengel gave the most intriguing assessment. 

‘OK, I was told that the matchup today is Souths v Manly, but at least according to the field markings I saw earlier, it looks like KFC are the home team, since their logo is in both end zones,’ he wrote on The Guardian’s live blog of the action. 

There was mixed reaction to the new sport on social media on Sunday

There was mixed reaction to the new sport on social media on Sunday

‘Which team is KFC? Assuming it’s the Sea Eagles since they’re closest to chickens.I’ve also learned that the distances are marked in meters, not yards, so already we have a problem. Luckily I have an app that can help with this.’

He was also blown away by the physicality of the sport. 

‘ANOTHER player is bleeding,’ he wrote after Manly’s Lachlan Croker sustained a cut. 

‘Is this normal? Croker Lachlan is really banged up. This is like human cockfighting. But they play on! Jesus.’

The Manly game was also moved over from Fox Sports 1 to Fox Sports 2 due to a college basketball game running over schedule, while the American broadcaster referred to the NRL as ‘Major League Rugby’.