Super League should seek to make drastic changes to salary-cap rules to facilitate the arrival of high-profile stars such as Sonny Bill Williams.
That is the view of Toronto Wolfpack director of rugby Brian Noble, whose side are set to bring in Williams in a move they hope will raise the profile of the club and the sport, similar to the way David Beckham’s switch to LA Galaxy shone a light on Major League Soccer.
Toronto will embark on their maiden top-flight campaign in 2020, when clubs will be allowed to spend £2.1million on player salaries, although All Black Williams’ impending arrival will fall under the marquee player rule.
“[Lifting the cap] would help for everybody’s shopping lists,” Noble told BBC Sport amid reports Williams will earn around £5m a year.
“It’s not carefree abandoning of all the principles we’ve put in place in Super League, but if we’re genuine in our aspirations to bring stars and have events, to make the game as vibrant as it was [when Super League started] in 1996 – or 1895 when northern union first broke away – then we are at the moment in the game where we need to make the pivotal decisions.
“There are some really intelligent people in and around Super League that agree with what Toronto are doing and the city is doing, while some are more head-scratching and wondering what it’s about.
My tribe can’t wait to get home to see my other two blessings. pic.twitter.com/mVPPuaR6QB
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) November 4, 2019
“It’s time to have the debate and be positive and proactive about expansion, with all the right regulatory rules that should be in there.
“Sonny Bill Williams, if his name is on that piece of paper, is part and parcel and forefront of our view of making decisions that are good for the game and not just Toronto.”
The Wolfpack have also been linked with Leicester Tigers and England centre Manu Tuilagi.