New Zealand Rugby League boss Greg Peters expects to get clarity around the future of the Denver test after the Rugby League International Federation assembles for a meeting in Singapore later this month.
The NRL and Australian Rugby League Commission yesterday unveiled plans to shake up the international calendar but their proposal has the Kiwis potentially playing Pacific Island teams during the representative round over the next two years and does not include the Denver test.
The ARLC's plan includes New Zealand participating in a new Oceania Cup tournament in 2019 together with Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, and a 2020 Four Nations tournament also featuring Tonga, Samoa, and Australia.
The Kiwis lost 36-18 to England in a historic test at Mile High Stadium last month and both sides are contracted to play another two more matches over the next two years subject to annual reviews.
The NZRL are still awaiting payment from independent promoter Jason Moore, who reportedly lost $500,000 on the Denver test, and are waiting for the RLIF to provide feedback as part of the first review that will help determine the future of the controversial fixture.
"We've got that meeting in Singapore which is part of [the review] because the RLIF approved the Denver test in the first place," said Peters.
"It's an opportunity with everyone around the table to have a look at it. So we should have more clarity after that.
"Obviously we've got a three-year agreement for the Denver test and we're one year into that. We need to fully review the whole event after the first year which we're in the process of doing.
"So anything that we did on an international calendar that would need to be factored in, because we have a commercial commitment, subject to the review."
Peters confirmed the NZRL were still waiting to be paid by Moore, who did not respond when contacted by the Herald earlier today.
"We haven't had a final settlement of the Denver test, no. The final settlement isn't due yet but it is close.
"We've asked [Moore Sports] to provide a full financial picture and they've committed to doing that."
The NZRL support the NRL's plans to establish a firm international calendar, but Peters believes the RLIF will have the final say on what that schedule looks like.
"We're hugely supportive of getting an international calendar in place for a long period of time," said Peters.
"We think that the ultimate ownership of the final outcome rests with the RLIF and we'll be discussing this in some detail in Singapore.
"There are many strong elements in what the NRL is thinking and we certainly value the contribution of all parties as we get into this discussion but there's still a fair bit of water to go under the bridge."
RLIF CEO Nigel Wood today questioned the appropriateness of the ARLC determining when and where other nations will play, and echoed Peters' sentiment, saying he looks forward to them presenting a formal submission which can be assessed by the RLIF Board.
"Fundamentally, bilateral events such as Lions, Kangaroo and Kiwi tours are matters for the individual nations themselves to discuss, in the first instance, and we are unclear what discussions have been had between the ARLC, the RFL and NZRL to step back from the previous calendar," said Wood.
"It would be unfortunate if all parties have not discussed and agreed these changes before this announcement."
Wood also explained the RLIF is currently reviewing its strategic plan and left the door open for the Denver test to remain part of the international calendar, despite no interest or support from the NRL.
"The arrangements and negotiations around the Denver test were instructional for all of us and the RLIF took on a responsibility to work with all nations, clubs, players and the players' associations to co-ordinate a calendar that it can sanction well in advance for all parties and the professional leagues to take into account in scheduling and participating in their own domestic competitions," he said.
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