While other codes continually expand throughout the years, there is always one code who is willing to do nothing proactive about expanding the game. And that’s the National Rugby League.
Rugby league seems to be the only code in the world not content on ever expanding; its approach is ‘heartlands’ they must protect over the heartlands they forgot about everywhere else.
The other codes out there are willing to take risk and invest millions of dollars in long-term expansion in ‘non-heartland’ areas. Historically, though, rugby league pulls out at a small sign of trouble (Perth and Adelaide, for example).
Furthermore, when those other codes go through hard times in non-heartlands areas they stay there and persevere, eventually getting rewarded.
Look at the Sydney Swans and Brisbane Lions who both were in financial strife in the early 1990s, yet the AFL stayed by them and were rewarded with the opportunity to create two-team local rivals with the Gold Coast Suns and GWS Giants in Queensland and NSW respectively.
League seems to be the only code it which the administration and fans are not keen on expanding constantly saying ‘it’s not worth it’, ‘focus on heartlands’, etc.
This mindset, along with the general laziness of the administration, has held the game back nationally and internationally to the point of no return.
It annoys me that rugby union is able to constantly expand internationally since its existence yet rugby league couldn’t do the same.
Seeing other codes walk over rugby league and their fans constantly laugh at league’s footprint is frustrating, as their codes tend to be in a greater state than ours.
It’s not too long to expand in Australia, but everywhere else is no hope.
Perhaps there was a slight chance 50 or 60 years ago, when the international game was competitive, but it’s too late now.