Don’t force the NRL to expand to Western Australia

David Baird Roar Rookie

By David Baird, David Baird is a Roar Rookie

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    Since the ARU made its decision to remove the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition, rugby league fans have been screaming at the NRL to expand there, and on the surface, it makes total sense.

    It’s a new market for the rugby league market to crack. Simply put, it would finally put the ‘N’ in NRL. Furthermore, it could help with the sliding TV ratings and scheduling.

    However, this opportunity comes at a time when the NRL is at its weakest and quite frankly doesn’t have the resources to do it.

    Firstly, there is the financial side, the NRL has just been rejected for another large loan, a big slide from the days of Dave Smith and the big spending that was going on.

    How can the NRL expand and invest in a new franchise when it has failed to assist the Gold Coast Titans and finally, when it did invest with the Titans, didn’t do anything by growing its junior ranks and competitions?

    Instead, the Titans decided to sign Jarryd Hayne in the hope it would bring in money. An attempted quick fix or what?!

    That is the NRL’s biggest factor, the juniors. Ask anyone with knowledge of both rugby codes, rugby league is simply a better developer of its players at a junior level. It develops young talent like no one other sport and it’s a huge reason as to why Sydney has sustained so many teams for so long.

    Both parents and kids are more than likely to be a part of a program if they know someone who has successfully gone through it. This is where passion and love for the game begins, are you really going to care for a team just because they stick it there and say here it is?

    It hasn’t worked for the Gold Coast Titans, though, has it?

    Jarryd Hayne Gold Coast Titans NRL Rugby League 2016 b

    (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

    Now you can say it’s the club’s fault and, in a way, yes it is. But a new club needs time to grow, it needs a backbone, one of which the NRL currently lacks. It’s too focused on telling us what it’s doing right and how it has improved the game, rather than listening to us, the fans.

    Look at the bunker and refs, there have been no solutions other than we created that much-criticised review system. Have the fans, (or commentators for that matter) really welcomed any changes to the game after this technological development?

    The answer is no. The criticism has been largely ignored by the current administration, or we get a “sorry we were wrong” and then it’s back to work putting out the next fire.

    Say what you will about Dave Smith, he wasn’t the best by any means, but at least he tried to think ahead, and grow the game.

    I’m begging the NRL to stay out of Western Australia. It will only do more harm than good.

    If there are ever plans to expand into the Western Australian market, they need to make sure there’s a new crop of administrators and there is actually a solid plan to move forward.

    The people of Western Australia and rugby league supporters deserve it.

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    The Crowd Says (35)

    • August 15th 2017 @ 6:51am
      AR said | August 15th 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

      I’ve long advocated for NRL expansion – Bris2 & Perth – in that order.

      But it staggers me to see claims that the NRL doesn’t have the cash to do it, and that it’s been knocked back for a loan.

      Seriously? Where did the billion dollars go? It hasn’t gone toward stadium investment, or a massive super fund for ex-players, or to nation-wide grassroots expansion…

      The ARLC needs a future plan and it needs to commit to it from top to bottom.

      • August 15th 2017 @ 9:11am
        Fred said | August 15th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        Why do we need a 2nd Brisbane team? That wouldn’t bring new fans, it would just entail existing Broncos fans switching to a new team.

        Perth would be genuine expansion. If we had to bring in a 2nd new team, I’d prefer a PNG team or a Wellington team over a 2nd Brisbane team.

        • August 15th 2017 @ 10:19am
          Birdy said | August 15th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          Fred,
          The Crushers were cut because if SL.Brisbane 2 would be well supported without stealing fans from the Broncos.
          Multiple choices for Bris 2.
          Ipswich, Redcliff and a team out of Suncorp. ( Brothers or Bombers) anyone of those would tick all the boxes.

          • Roar Guru

            August 15th 2017 @ 11:25am
            Emcie said | August 15th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

            The point that Fred is making is that Brisbane 2 wouldn’t really bring more people to follow league, it would cater to pre-existing fans whereas establishing teams in untapped regions would do much more to grow Leagues national footprint which in turn would increase the amount of comercial opportunities availible to the NRL

        • August 15th 2017 @ 12:20pm
          AR said | August 15th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

          Brisbane is the beating heart of rugby league yet has only 1 team based there out of 16.

          It’s a farce.

          • August 15th 2017 @ 1:23pm
            Fred said | August 15th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

            That is precisely why the Broncos are such a big club with big crowds. Bring in more Brisbane clubs, and the Broncos will shrink.

            • August 15th 2017 @ 1:49pm
              Birdy said | August 15th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

              Fred i doubt you would say that if you lived in Brisbane.
              2 points in favour of Bris 2.
              I would guess that 25% of rl supporters in Brisbane would support the cowboys.
              Very few north of logan would support the titans.
              Another 25% would follow other clubs
              as they are expats or just don’t like the Broncos.
              Point 2.
              The Brisbane lions are moving to Springfield (Ipswich) with council and srate gov funding including govt land to build a stadium and training facilities meant for the Ipswich RL bid.
              While an NRL sjde jn Ipswich js not spreading the game , it js keeping what we have.
              The AFL will pump huge money into the west even if it takes 50 years.
              Our next 2 team expansion will be either NZ2, Bris2 or Perth.
              Who ever misses out will be real unlucky.
              Plus a local derby at Suncorp would always be a packed house.

            • August 16th 2017 @ 7:11am
              AR said | August 16th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

              “Bring in more Brisbane clubs, and the Broncos will shrink.”

              That’s a very insecure and insular way to look at it.

              West Coast’s crowds didn’t shrink when Fremantle came in. And the overal footprint of football grew significantly in Perth.

              Same with Adelaide/Port. Same with Sydney/GWS.

              The NRL just needs some vision, a plan, patience and some guts.

              • August 16th 2017 @ 10:03am
                Fred said | August 16th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

                Yes but Adelaide/Port didn’t grow AFL either. The Sydney Swans grew AFL. And given GWS has no genuine fans at all (maybe one), no they haven’t taken any fans from the Swans.

                The other example people give is Western Sydney Wanderers, who have attracted a fair amount of fans, but Sydney FC crowds have been down since then, despite them being the best soccer team in Australia last year.

      • August 15th 2017 @ 2:16pm
        Crosscoder said | August 15th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

        No doubt there’s been waste and neglect, in areas such as Tasmania and the bush.
        There’s really been SFA rectangular stadium Govt investment in the last est ten years, bearing in mind all 3 codes share most of the rectangular stadiums .

        You can start ,with taking over the debts and the ownership of the Titans and Knights over the past few years, one of which is in the throes of being sold, the other about to be offered for sale.That is also an albatross.
        Take them out of the equation over the years and the NRL would not have to chase a loan for $30m,until the new money rolls in.We are well aware how much the AFL puts in pa into the Suns and GWS.

        Throw in loans to the Tigers and Dragons running into the millions.Quite an amount still to be repaid.
        An expensive head office with Smith and his selection within that area,earning from$2m pa down to an average $600,00 pa .That comes under the waste category IMO.
        Club grants ,assistance to players financially for further education, money toward Indigenous issues, grants to the NSWRL and QRL,National and local D/Os,Funding non heartland Affiliated states games, junior rep teams to play other countries such as NZ,Jillaroos.increase in some cases large for player payments.
        Waste of $750,000 for feasibility study on a new SFS,thanks to Smith.No doubt monies set aside for grassroots(not enough),insurance player suoerannuation.The NRL also pays for insurance and gate shortfalls on tests such as recently Samoa bv Tonga,and Fiji v England .
        I believe the NRL has gone guarantor for the new Nth Qld stadium.

        The NRL lost money in 2016 as did I understand the AFL.
        It’s spelt out in their report although some seem rather hazy.

        The point is over the recent years the NRL has bailed clubs out of financial trouble including the Sharks,they have stated once the new deal comes into place (130% of the cap) and clubs get into trouble, they either relocate of die.

        You can have a pin when you have the money to support that plan, ask the ARU.

        • August 15th 2017 @ 7:02pm
          Fred said | August 15th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

          Genuine question – was there really a gate shortfall at the recent Pacific Test? If so I don’t get how – I was there and it was a big crowd!

          • August 15th 2017 @ 8:32pm
            Crosscoder said | August 15th 2017 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

            The Poms are paid decent amounts for starters, not sure about the other guys I guess a lot less.
            It was a decent crowd agree, but tickets were they high or reasonably cheap.?Remembering many on the hills, at either end.
            Think the code catered for that area which has a large Polynesian decent population.
            Also six teams involved.

            • August 16th 2017 @ 10:04am
              Fred said | August 16th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

              I forget how much but yes tickets were pretty cheap. I had the time of my life on the hill.

        • August 16th 2017 @ 7:07am
          AR said | August 16th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

          “The NRL lost money in 2016 as did I understand the AFL.”

          You cannot be serious.

          The AFL purchased a stadium and launched a national women’s competition.

          What did the NRL spend *its* dough on?

          • August 16th 2017 @ 12:40pm
            Crosscoder said | August 16th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

            Um I’m serious, by looking at their end result,what they did with the money is a different kettle of fish.I’m reporting the result not the details.Love shooting the messenger.

            You’ve obviously never heard of the Jillaroos who were basically amateurs prior. I’ve spelt out what I’ve ascertained where the expenditure went.The AFL don’t have a bunker,pehaps they could use one.Nor do they spend sums on supporting tests between Samoa.Tonga,Fiji,PNG etc at a loss.Not forgetting of course the Titans/Knights/Draghons/Tigers financial issues.Nor having to spend large legal fees on a Parramatta debacle, nor a huge increase in drug testing, plus provide an extra $1.5m loan to all clubs.Plus spend million on a Digital Dept which the AFL have had up and running for a time.

            What the NRL should have done in the intervening years, is lobby Govts like the ACT for large handouts day over a 10 year period at say $2m pa .But they were clueless in doing so.
            They spent SFA on grassroots, as the figures show.

            Anycase do your own research by checking the reports.You come here as the NRL expert

    • August 15th 2017 @ 9:09am
      agent11 said | August 15th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      what an odd article…

      pleading the NRL not to expand to WA? sounds like a bitter Rugby fan to me

      The Titans have failed in a number of areas but juniors isn’t one of them.

    • August 15th 2017 @ 9:15am
      Fred said | August 15th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      What do Perth and the Gold Coast have in common? Very little. Gold Coast is an expat city. A lot of league fans there (and AFL fans for that matter) have pre-existing teams they support,as they’ve moved from elsewhere. That is one big reason both the Titans and the Suns struggle. It’s also a very spread out place not based around a single ‘centre’.

      Perth would be massive for the NRL. The Reds didn’t go because they failed, they went because of the messy aftermath of Super League.

      If the Force can establish themselves (and they did, they were cut for stupid reasons) there’s no reason why league can’t do even better.

    • August 15th 2017 @ 10:06am
      Millsy said | August 15th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      Any move into Western Australia should have a plan just like AFL putting suns and giants in backing them heavily to go in half hearted and with a knee jerk reaction would be folly. Although I would suggest being a Perth boy any side will be successful in time. If the NRL said look we will definitely be putting a side here in say three years things would move pretty quickly over here and not Alienate the RU by rubbing it in. 2nd side in Brisbane for sure but I’de put Redcliffe in far enough north and take in the Sunshine Coast and further north to McKay maybe that would just about cover the state for RL imo

    • August 15th 2017 @ 10:25am
      Birdy said | August 15th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

      Any decision for the overdue return to Perth should not be influenced by the culling of the Force.
      Go back with our own model , timing and backing.
      Yesrerday would be soon enough.

    • Roar Guru

      August 15th 2017 @ 11:01am
      Wayne said | August 15th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

      N is for National. As long as its only the East Coast of Australia and New Zealand…

      If they continue to ignore Perth, Adelaide and Hobart then those markets will just be more rusted on to what they currently get (BBL, AFL, A League)

      • August 15th 2017 @ 4:48pm
        no one in particular said | August 15th 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

        The NRL has teams in seven of the 10 most populated cities in Australia. The AFL and A-League have teams in six, the BBL five

        Hobart has 3/4 the population of Wollongong. They are meaningless

        • August 16th 2017 @ 12:45pm
          clipper said | August 16th 2017 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

          Although, it should be noted the A league and AFL have teams in 5 of the top 5 cities and the NRL has teams in only 3 of the top 5 cities.
          Technically the NRL has teams in 6, not 7 of the top 10 – there is no full time team in Wollongong. If you counted that you could also count Canberra for the AFL.

          • August 17th 2017 @ 8:14am
            Crosscoder said | August 17th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

            Thus the NRL has not saturated the potential Oz market as yet.
            Meaning of course there is plenty of room for the NRL to expand,as they have really only pushed the surface in 3 states and one territory.And judging by the people interested that will happen down the track.WA for a start.

            Also NZ people are interested in another NRL team.Another country closer to Sydney,than Adelaide or Melbourne is to Perth.

            The difference being Wollongong area doesn’t get the largesse ,that the GWS doers in Canberra from a small territory Govt.So it really isn’t apples with apples.Also because the Illawarra had a seperate rl club at one stage.

            • August 17th 2017 @ 8:51am
              Go warriors said | August 17th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

              Yeah well said Crosscoder the NRL has many new markets they can expand to. Perth, NZ2, PNG as well as strengthening existing markets the Central Coast, 2nd Brisbane etc.

              The AFL and all the other codes for that matter have really nowhere to expand to that will increase their market.

              • August 17th 2017 @ 9:06am
                League fan said | August 17th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

                If the NRL administration could get their act together and expand the NRL to include teams from Perth, PNG, 2nd NZ and 2nd Brisbane team then the NRL has the potential to be the biggest sport comp in Australasia.

                When you break it down RL is the number one code in NSW/QLD pop 12mill, PNG nearly 8 mill and is a very popular sport in NZ pop 4.5 mill. No other sport comes close to these figures.

                If the NRL could realise this and capitalize on this then the potential is huge.

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