David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

League: Kiwis to play Anzac test in Newcastle

The Kiwis will defend their number one world ranking against the Kangaroos in the Anzac test in Newcastle on May 6. Photo/Getty
The Kiwis will defend their number one world ranking against the Kangaroos in the Anzac test in Newcastle on May 6. Photo/Getty

The Kiwis have been denied the chance to host this year's Anzac test with confirmation today they will defend their number one world ranking against the Kangaroos at Newcastle's Hunter Stadium on May 6.

The Australian Rugby League Commission's current broadcast deal with Channel Nine prevented the New Zealand Rugby League from claiming hosting rights for the match.

The ARLC announced last year that the Anzac test will be scrapped after 2017 at the end of the current broadcast deal.

The NZRL are now resigned to waiting three more years before having the chance to stage an end of season transtasman clash in New Zealand.

"We're bound by contractual arrangements with the Australian Rugby League and their broadcast deal over there, so the earliest that it will be in New Zealand will be 2018," said NZRL interim CEO Alex Hayton.

"We did go through the process with them. They did seek to see if they could vary the broadcast deal, the answer was no.

"Because their broadcast deal expires at the end of 2017, 2018 is realistically the earliest."

As part of an international weekend of league, the Kiwi Ferns women's side will also face the Australian Jillaroo's in the curtain raiser at Hunter Stadium.

The Junior Kiwis will also take on their Australian counterparts the following day at Parramatta's Pirtek Stadium, as the opening clash ahead of a Pacific doubleheader featuring Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The Kiwis have played twice in Newcastle in recent years, beating England there during the 2008 World Cup and losing to Australia in an end of year game in 2012.

The Anzac test will also mark the Kangaroos coaching debut of Mal Meninga.

Since the Anzac test was introduced in 1997, New Zealand has hosted just two fixtures in 1998 and 2012.

After being overlooked for last year's Anzac test, which was held at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, Hayton insists the NZRL pushed hard to host this year's match.

Despite missing out once more, he believes they are in the box seat to host the 2018 test, to be played after the completion of that year's NRL season.

"We did (engage in robust debate)," he said. "We're kind of stuck with what we've got at the moment but in pretty confident that in 2018 it will be here.

"I'm pretty confident that we'll have that as the first one. They kind of know that they owe us so in pretty confident that will happen."

Later this year, the Kiwis will also play an end of season test against the Kangaroos, with a venue still to be confirmed.

Perth's nib Stadium is reportedly in the running to host the match, which will serve as a build-up game for both teams ahead of the Four Nations tournament in England and Scotland in October and November.

"There definitely will be a fixture against Australia at the end of the year, location to be determined," confirmed outgoing NZRL CEO Phil Holden.

"At the right time the respective parties will announce what that will look like."

2016 NRL representative schedule:

May 6 - Kiwis v Kangaroos Anzac test at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
- Kiwi Ferns v Australian Jillaroos

May 7 - Pacific Doubleheader (Samoa, Tonga, Fiji & Papua New Guinea) at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
- Junior Kiwis v Junior Kangaroos

May 8 - Country v City at Scully Park, Tamworth

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