THERE have been a lot of big announcements in rugby league this past eight days. Most of them have merit and will enhance the profile of the sport which will have plenty of competition from the pull of the 15-man game in World Cup year.

The news that the Kiwis will be coming for an autumn test series in 2015 is positive, and although it will have been two years since England and Wales successfully hosted the Rugby League World Cup, hopefully plenty of those new-found international followers will be encouraged to re-trace their steps.

Yes, it is a shame that it is not under the moniker of Great Britain — and without being disrespectful it is also a pity that it is not the Kangaroos coming to play for the Ashes, but you can’t have everything.

Maybe it will be as good a series as the drawn one in 1985 which did so much to revitalise international rugby league in this country. That was the one which culminated in an all-in punch-up at a scrum which resulted in a member of the West Yorkshire Constabulary entering the field to assist in the breaking up. Had the blood bin been in operation that afternoon at Elland Road then referee Barry Gomersall would have been the only bloke left on the pitch.

Lee Crooks was the hero that day, with, to quote commentator Ray French, “A magnificent kick!” levelling the series.

Hopefully the Kiwis will bring Benji Marshall, now back in league after his unsuccessful foray into union, and that the venues are attractive, accessible but include a nod towards developing the game’s geographical appeal in England.

The second big news was the expansion of the World Club Challenge by adding a couple of games. Sure, we don’t have to swallow the hype that says it will decide whether Super League is as good as the NRL. Players vote with their feet on that one, but nevertheless it is another series of eye-catching fixtures.

Dismiss them as friendlies if you want, but you can be pretty sure that there will be some long faces among the big English clubs who don’t make the cut for the first one. The selection criterion in Super League is the highest-placed finisher, plus the two Grand Finalists.

Again, the marketing potential of those games is greater than the norm — so what is there not to like about it?

The third one is Magic weekend being taken to Newcastle United’s St James’ Park on the weekend of May 30 and 31, but I will keep it positive for this week and save my annual Magic rant for later!