Reviving the Bears on the Gold Coast is a terrible idea

Keith Sheldon Roar Guru

By Keith Sheldon, Keith Sheldon is a Roar Guru

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    Once again we’re hearing talk of the Bears purchasing the Gold Coast Titans and rebranding them as the Gold Coast Bears. And once again there are two schools of thought around the topic.

    Some have nostalgic memories of the Bears and want them back in the competition. But plenty of others think it is silly for a former club to take over a current one.

    I agree with the second school of thought.

    The North Sydney Bears were a foundation club that was around until the end of the 1999 season, when the ARL and Super League formed the NRL, and a lot of the worse-performing either merged or died. So the Bears ‘married’ Manly to form the Northern Eagles.

    However that merger didn’t last long and by 2002 the Sea Eagles were back and the Bears were dead.

    The fact that they haven’t been in first grade since 1999 means I never saw the Bears play, so I don’t have any nostalgia towards them. However, I must say, their red and black colour scheme was amazing.

    But the NRL should not allow the Bears to take over the Titans because there are too many teams in Sydney, to the point where I am confident that one or two of them will have to relocate.

    Now, if you allow the Bears to purchase the Gold Coast Titans, they will try their hardest to bring as many games as possible to North Sydney. This is just going to make the overcrowded Sydney problem even worse.

    Not only that, it will be a kick in the guts to rugby league in Southeast Queensland. Rugby league has historically failed in the Gold Coast, and after their initial introduction boom, the Titans seemed destined to meet the same fate a year or two ago.

    Jarryd Hayne Gold Coast Titans NRL Rugby League 2016 tall

    However, the Titans are now a team on the up, both on and off the field. They have their training facilities up to scratch and their team finally has a marketable face. Say what you will about Jarryd Hayne, but he is the marquee player that the Gold Coast have been missing since Scott Prince.

    If the NRL allow the Bears to take over, all of that progress would be erased, because a bunch of hold-outs from the 1990s want to see a team with the Bears’ name and logo.

    And that is all this would be: it isn’t going to bring back the Bears, it is just going to dress another club up in a bad Bears costume.

    Is that what Bears’ fans want? A team to pop up that isn’t actually the team you followed? Because that is what you are going to get with the Gold Coast Bears.

    If the NRL wants a club on the Gold Coast it needs to hold firm. It takes years for a team to grow a fan-base, culture and rivalries. Rebranding them as an old team and allowing them to move a bunch of their games away from the place they are trying to establish a team will just mean that people from the area won’t follow them.

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    The Crowd Says (127)

    • March 14th 2017 @ 3:33am
      Matt Jones said | March 14th 2017 @ 3:33am | ! Report

      “Now, if you allow the Bears to purchase the Gold Coast Titans, they will try their hardest to bring as many games as possible to North Sydney. This is just going to make the overcrowded Sydney problem even worse.”

      how do you know this will happen?

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2017 @ 9:45am
        Epiquin said | March 14th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        It’s well reported that the Bears plan on bringing two games to the Central Coast and one to North Sydney. Obviously an official bid hasn’t been lodged, so it’s all speculation, but I think it’s a safe bet.

        • March 14th 2017 @ 12:18pm
          Glenn said | March 14th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

          I think the NRL need to stand firm on this, and compromise.
          So far their policy has been “No relocation, no rebrand. Titans are for sale as-is, where-is”.

          A fair compromise of it would be “OK, we’ll sell to the Bears, and you can re-brand, but ONLY ONE HOME GAME PER SEASON AT NORTH SYDNEY (usually heritage round versus Manly), and cut any links to the Central Coast – including NO moving home games to Gosford.”

          To sweeten the deal, the NRL and other Sydney clubs could arrange ‘Sydney Memberships’ for Bears fans in Sydney that offer seats to the North Sydney Oval match AND every ‘away’ game in Sydney against Sydney teams, with a portion of that money going to the other Sydney clubs (revenue sharing).

          That way the Bears get their way in to the competition, and their precious game a year at North Sydney Oval- while the NRL has the Central Coast as a free location for another team to relocate to – either partly (eg Manly, in a St George-Illawarra type set-up…) or fully relocate (eg the Roosters following through on their Wyong Roos link, and moving their NRL operation there)

          Bottom line HAS to be freeing up the Central Coast for some other club. Having the Bears in the Gold Coast and Gosford makes no sense at all – you have Newcastle smack-bang in the middle of it for a start…

          • March 14th 2017 @ 4:54pm
            Kurt said | March 14th 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

            whos going to buy a club that bleeds money glenn? and Titans bleed money.
            i am a bears fan and there are a lot of us. now the issue for titans is fans, and north sydney is a ready made solution.
            why put a caveet on it like no games at gosford, it is business sense like that that will keep the titans in trouble

            • March 15th 2017 @ 12:54am
              Bear Bunny said | March 15th 2017 @ 12:54am | ! Report

              “North Sydney is a ready made solution” – good one, Kurt, hilarious!

              Bears AGM is next week – what a coincidence…

              Not much money. Not many fans. No crowds. Just an old worn-out dream to sell to rich old fans they call sponsors and proxy votes…

              At least they created something to talk about at the AGM…

              • March 15th 2017 @ 6:57am
                Kurt said | March 15th 2017 @ 6:57am | ! Report

                cumon the bears. i hope this does happen. and i you have a front seat veiwing.

    • March 14th 2017 @ 4:50am
      PatchMan said | March 14th 2017 @ 4:50am | ! Report

      They should just stick to bringing in the “Central Coast Bears” It will work’ as John Singleton had been trying for yrs to make it happen! .. It almost payed off!
      It is a Rugby League Heartland’ & there will be no problem in have a fan base! Wake up NRL’ & Make It Happen!!

      • March 14th 2017 @ 10:08am
        Jeff Morris said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

        What they should do is let Manly officially claim all the territory in North Sydney and Central Coast, let the Bears buy the Titans and re-name them under the condition they play all home matches in the Gold Coast. If the Bears are allowed to claim Gold Coast, Central Coast and North Sydney that leaves Manly an isolate and imperils them long term. If the Bears want to be a Gold Coast team, they should be a Gold Coast team. The Titans brand is not so historic so I don’t see a name change as a big problem for most fans. There were the Giants, Seagulls and Chargers and then the Titans, so I don’t see why another name change would be a problem. No Bears super team with three home markets though, that’s not fair to other teams.

        • Roar Guru

          March 14th 2017 @ 10:16am
          Epiquin said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

          Manly has already tried to claim the whole Northern region but were thoroughly rejected.

          • March 14th 2017 @ 12:27pm
            Big Daddy said | March 14th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

            You stole my thunder.
            Manly had their chance and roosters saw the opportunity.
            Infrastructure is their with wyong their and also central coast have teams in s.g. ball and Harold Matthews.
            Newcastle also had their chance.
            Central coast have stadium and not too far from cbd.
            Also think back when we had 12 teams with a population of 2 million.
            We now have 4 million and 3 less teams.
            2

            • March 14th 2017 @ 4:58pm
              Kurt said | March 14th 2017 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

              to think a bears supporter would ever support a eagle, shows justhow ill informed you are

    • March 14th 2017 @ 5:22am
      Sammy said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:22am | ! Report

      It would have worked back in the 1990’s when the Tweed Heads Seagulls had the NRL/ARL license.

      These two Leagues Clubs are in fact amalgamated, so the Football Clubs could have merged to form the North Coast Bears.

      A lot of Queenslanders played for Norths, so there would be some support from Queenslanders as well as New South Welshman.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2017 @ 11:10am
        Dogs Of War said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

        Not to mention that the North Sydney leagues club owns Seagulls leagues club.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 12:23pm
        Ben said | March 14th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

        Got to say if this had have happened back then I would have selfishly loved it.
        Grew up on the North Coast NSW so never had a local team to follow. Massive League heartland.
        GC Tits came along in 07 but they were from the get go such a QLD marketed team that it was hard to feel any love for them. You’d be hard pressed finding any new south welshmen south of Tweed Heads who properly support the Tits.
        Their feeder/junior area comes down into the Northern Rivers but they will always be a QLD centric team.
        Should have been named East Coast Dolphins/Titans/Bears and still could have been based in Robina. Would have drawn in loads more support from a swathe of Northern NSW down to Coffs Harbour that currently doesn’t care for the Tits at all…

    • March 14th 2017 @ 7:28am
      Onside said | March 14th 2017 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      You should of held onto this story for just 17 more days.

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2017 @ 7:40am
      Magnus M. Østergaard said | March 14th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      I don’t even think terrible does the idea justice. I am not sure how the idea of bastardising 2 clubs will work at all. The Dragons and Tigers struggle for identity at times and they have stadiums/locations less than 100kms apart, but in someones thought process spreading a club across nearly 900kms of coast line is a great idea to the extent they have gathered together nearly $7m.

      The only way the central coast will get a team is if a team relocates there. Sydney Roosters have a fairly decent base there, they could easily play 6-8 games there a year while maintaining 6-8 in Sydney.

      And I love nostalgia to the point where I would even consider the Ipswich Jets donning the Newtown Blue and playing a game out of Henson Park once a year!

      • March 14th 2017 @ 12:17pm
        MAX said | March 14th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        If the Tri Colours were to bring 6-8 games to CC Stadium I would join the Roosters in a flash.
        It would be good to know if the club has done any research on that matter.

        For that matter any Rugby League team playing four games at Gosford each season would
        attract my subscription. There are enough hungry League fans on the CC to support a club in
        the NRL. There was previous discussion that they already hold allegiance to various teams.
        If it was set in concrete you would soon see all that channelled into one local side.

        Good Old Newtown. When they got possession of the pill it needed major surgery to get it
        back. Against all odds Newtown produced some very competitive teams. Memories!

        • Roar Rookie

          March 14th 2017 @ 1:04pm
          Dogs Boddy said | March 14th 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

          Yep agree.

          I used to live on the CC and would have taken on anyone who committed to the area. The Northern Eagles were a good start until Manly took over and didn’t hide the fact they were taking the team back to Brookie. It killed the crowds as surely as this merger will kill the GC crowds as well. Why support a team that is not committed to your area?? Then when the GC attendances plummet (as it did in Gosford) the team moves, rebrands and carries on regardless. Hello Manly.

          While I would love to see the Bears back this should not be the way. The CC should have its own team but the NRL won’t do it as its too close to Sydney. QLD deserves another team first really. I reckon the Bears should get their arse up to Bundaberg and re enter as the Bundy Bears. The advertising writes itself.

        • March 14th 2017 @ 3:23pm
          andrew said | March 14th 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

          But it takes more than just fans to make a club viable. You need corporate support.

          There are plenty of rugby league fans in Wollongong as well and it is one of the several hundred communities on the eastern seaboard laying claim to being “rugby league heartland”. But there isn’t enough corporate support for a team to survive on its own in Wollongong. If it can’t work in Wollongong, and Newcastle is close to breaking point, why would it work on the Central Coast?

    • March 14th 2017 @ 7:46am
      Bruce said | March 14th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      It might bring some financial stability to the Gold Coast footy team.

      There doesn’t seem to be any strict home and away in recent seasons. Canterbury are playing a home game in Dunedin this week.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2017 @ 11:11am
        Dogs Of War said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        Thats cause the Bulldogs can do reciprocal rights with other teams that play out of Stadium Australia, meaning that there are enough fixtures to satisfy the most demanding fan.

      • March 15th 2017 @ 8:57am
        Scott said | March 15th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        Given how much NRL teams lose each year do North Sydney have the money? Seagulls didn’t in hindsight, also is it money well spent for a local sporting club?

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