Australia is all but ignoring the Rugby League World Cup being played at home, says a columnist for the Guardian - a situation that would only change if the Kangaroos get knocked out early.

Writing for the British newspaper's website, Australian journalist John Davidson has blamed both the choice of host broadcaster and the overwhelming dominance of the NRL itself for the lack of attention in the Australian media.

"At the core of the issue is that Australia loves the NRL - not rugby league," Davidson wrote.

"International rugby league is an irritant to the NRL, a mosquito on the arm of the Australian game, not the core focus like it is other parts of the world. That dismissive attitude sadly flows from the NRL down."

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Davidson pointed out that the Rugby League World Cup is in its 15th edition and has a longer history than rugby or cricket yet it pales in comparison.

The 2013 tournament staged in the UK, Ireland and France turned a profit in excess of $7.5m and was considered the most successful edition in terms of revenue, exposure and attendances.

But decision to chase the bigger money on offer has hurt the overall impact of the tournament according to Davidson. Host broadcaster rights went to Channel 7 rather than Channel 9, who have dominated league coverage over the past two decades.

The tournament opted to schedule matches in cities where local governments bid for the rights to host games and overlooked rugby league heartland that refused to pay for the right. Sydney has only hosted two matches while places like Canberra, Darwin, Cairns and Townsville have been saturated with fixtures.

Davidson has been unhappy with the lack of interest from local media too, who he said were too focused on off-season NRL stories like Cooper Cronk's signing with the Roosters, Mitchell Pearce's likely departure and where Matt Moylan will play next season.

He claims the only thing that would wake Australia up is if the Kangaroos were to be knocked out of the tournament early.