The New York team that is set to follow in the footsteps of Toronto Wolfpack are aiming to make Australian Rugby League legends Billy Slater and Cameron Smith their first signings.

They are prepared to offer the iconic duo $1 million deals to join the newly-formed club and promote the game in the States ahead of the 2025 World Cup in the US and Canada.

The spokesman for the consortium Ricky Wilby says that since they tabled a $30 million business plan to join Super League in 2019 or 2020, more than 60 players have expressed their interest in playing for the New York team.

From those, Slater and Smith are being targeted as the headline names of the team as the pair wind down their incredible careers in the National Rugby League.

Both are off-contract at the end of next season and they may look at the New York franchise as the ideal way to end their playing days, taking home a large pay packet while enjoying an incredible new lifestyle.

Wilby told the Courier Mail: “There will be many critics of the franchise and some will see building a successful Rugby League team in the Big Apple as something of a pipedream.

“But this is not something we have come up with overnight. There is a lot of planning in place and the interest and support we have received from the consortium alone has been overwhelming.

“There are a number of NRL stars and full-fledged internationals among those and we want to target the biggest names and promote the game as much as possible over here ahead of the 2025 World Cup.“

Planning ahead

The New York club would not seek central funding and say they have already secured a £7.5 million investment as they aim to bring rugby league to the huge American sports market.

If the bid is given the seal of approval, home matches are set to be played at the Red Bull Arena Soccer Stadium which has a capacity of 25,000.

In October, when the proposal was first announced, a number of current stars took to social media to support the bid and potentially put their hand up for the team.

England star Sam Burgess said: “New York, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of players putting their hands up to go play over there.

It would be a great place to live, to play the game, to travel.

“When you’re getting to the back end of your career … it’s an opportunity … I’ll see how my body’s holding up.”

New York’s proposal is set to be given the green light shortly by the RFL and will be a huge boost for the sport as they seek to expand the game globally.