Steve Mascord, NRL.com
FORMER Cronulla hooker Dean Treister is racing the clock to be back from China in time for this weekend's historic rugby league tournament in Las Vegas.
Former Coogee Dolphins fullback Col Manners has organised a five-team tournament in the gambling capital after playing in the first Remembrance Cup, between the Sydney A-grand club and New York Knights, eight years ago in Philadelphia. Manners was so taken with the enthusiasm of Americans for rugby league that he started spending his entire vacation time in New York promoting the game.
Eventually, he quit and moved their fulltime. But after landing a "dream job" in the financial sector, he was transferred to the West Coast. So he started work on establishing league there.
"This is the tenth anniversary of the Bali bombings, which started the whole concept, and I am going to run this tournament every year," said Manners, who now lives in Newport Beach.
Treister is now in Laguna Beach but is away in China on business. "He is going to do his best to get back ... he will be one of only two players in the California side who has ever played the game before."
Along with three US teams, Coogee Dolphins will of course be back and the British Columbia Bulldogs will be making the trip from Canada. All games will go for 20 minutes, with drop kicks for conversions and penalty goals. A goal-kicking contest and sprint race will also entertain the crowds.
"We've had a lot of interest for next year already," said Manners. "It's a great reason for fans to come to see some full-on park footy and come to Las Vegas.
"Charity will also be a big part of the event each year."
This year's charity will benefit a former New York Knights team-mate of Manners who lost his house in Hurricane Sandy.