| Rugby League News | Wednesday April 18 2012 12:43
The New Zealand Rugby League will reconsider staging big international test matches at Eden Park if ticket sales don't improve drastically for Friday's trans-Tasman test.
20,000 tickets have so far been sold for the Kiwis match against the Kangaroos, well short of expectations.
NZRL CEO Jim Doyle says it's disappointing.
"We're trying to bring as many high-level, international games to New Zealand as we can and don't get any higher level than obviously the Kiwis versus the Kangaroos but if we only get 20-odd thousand, 30,000, then we've got to reconsider to... what is the most appropriate games to bring here."
Doyle admits it's a concern but he's remaining optimistic.
"Certainly expectations are a little bit dampened I'm still optimistic and we've still got three full days and then obviously Friday night in itself."
He admits sales are disappointing, but he's still hopeful of a decent crowd.
"Ticket sales pick up well today, tomorrow and Friday and then we're pretty close to 30,000, then hopefully with a good walk up crowd on Friday we'll go past that."
Doyle says they were conservative in their budgeting so won't lose money if there isn't a big crowd on Friday night.
The last time a test was staged at the ground, 44,000 turned up for the Four Nations double header in 2010.
Meanwhile Kiwis assistant coach Tony Iro believes the Kangaroos will always have an instant advantage in international league tests.
He says the Aussies will always have stronger combinations than New Zealand.
"Probably never going to be able to replicate the advantage the Australians have in that area. Their three main players play at club level as well so in terms of that we've just got to do out best."
Iro says they've been criticised again for naming Simon Mannering at centre, but he'll do the job they want.
"We often get a bit of criticism both at club and national level about Simon playing there but he's in good form. Simon adds that bit of steel out on the edge that we think we need."
Iro says there are going to be some heated moments in the game and players like Issac Luke need to keep their cool.
And Australian fullback Billy Slater says Mannering will dictate the way the Kiwis play.
"We're expecting to see a really good defensive side that picks on Mannering in the centres, and just goes to show that they'll try and stick it to us and just get us in that arm wrestle."
Photo: Eden Park (Photosport)