NRL stars including Reece Walsh to be grilled by US Embassy officials in bid to be granted visas for Las Vegas season opener

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There are reportedly 12 NRL players who have been summoned to appear at the US Embassy for formal interviews to decide whether they are granted visas to enter America.

Broncos superstar Reece Walsh is one of the ‘Vegas Dozen’ who are racing the clock to be approved to play in Las Vegas for the 2024 NRL season opener, according to The Daily Telegraph.

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The interviews, which will take place in Sydney this week, will see the players sit down with American immigration official to discuss prior off-field incidents which have resulted in police arrests or charges.

The NRL’s Las Vegas showcase will be on Sunday March 3 AEDT, with the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles doing battle before the Broncos and Roosters at Allegiant Stadium.

Rugby league powerbrokers are reportedly aware of the formal interviews that will decide whether the 12 players will travel abroad.

The NRL has been assisting the four clubs and the 12 players to secure their visas, with American officials reportedly expected to rigorously interview the group.

NRL bosses called upon the guidance of immigration experts to assist the players who have been flagged.

News Corp is also reporting that NRL officials are confident the players will be given the green light, avoiding a major hurdle that threatened Round 1.

Walsh has hired his own visa expert who will also attend the US Embassy to assist with gaining his entry clearance.

The young gun fullback pleaded guilty to cocaine possession on the Gold Coast in 2021 during his stint with the Warriors.

Meanwhile, teammate Payne Haas already has a US visa after a holiday to Hawaii 15 months ago. He was granted entry despite being arrested after a fight with police in 2021.

It also remains unknown whether Rabbitohs pair Jack Wighton and Latrell Mitchell are part of the 12-player group.

The close friends were arrested in Canberra and slapped with a raft of charges in 2023 which were subsequently dropped in November.

However, the pair reportedly may still have to explain their application to US consulate officials due to the arrest.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said “I don’t think there will be any problems” for the players who have been summoned to the US Embassy.

“If you haven’t got any criminal record, it’s a five-minute process, but if you have been charged and been convicted, you have to go through an interview process,” he said.

“Precedents have shown us that (athletes involved in) such incidents are provided with visas, so we have to go through the process.”

Originally published as NRL’s ‘Vegas dozen’ summoned to US Embassy for grilling as visa D-day looms

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