Muzz, the comp doesn’t and won’t ever go close to a situation where every team plays every other twice. Currently it’s everyone once and 9 of the 15 a second time for 24 games. Why not create some structure around this where there’s a reason (like local rivalries) as to why teams play each other twice in a season? These derby games are the hallmark of the NRL regular season. I believe the NRL should be looking at ways to leverage the deep seeded rivalries that exist across the competition and a conference structure is the answer.
Furthermore, players and coaches have been airing their concerns over fatigue for years now and next to nothing has been seriously done about it. My model would include 2 fewer games (not less content) which is step in the right direction but in terms of the product being sold to media outlets- currently there are 192 regular season games, this expansion would be selling 220.
Take a look at my response to Birdy below which provides a summary of the situation in these two significant RL heartlands and population centres. Much has changed in the competition and these places since the Steelers were kicking around.
You say it like its gospel. That may be your opinion but I don’t believe Wellington or CQ should be anywhere near the radar yet.
Lumping CC and/or Illawarra in with Sydney is like suggesting the Gold Coast is already Brisbane’s second team and expansion will actually include their third. Distance dictates that Brisbane and the Gold Coast are 2 very different landscapes just in the same way that Sydney, Gosford and Wollongong are all very separate from one and other and should be treated as such.
Both the Gong and Gosford are an hour north and south of Sydney respectively and residents definitely don’t identify themselves as Sydneysiders. The immediate markets are made up of about 300,000 people while the extended catchments are about twice that. These are significant markets by Australian standards and they’re both booming as cost of living pressures drive Sydneysiders to these cities.
The real clincher here is that both of these places have excellent boutique football stadiums that deserve fulltime NRL schedules and they’re heartlands of the game that are home to hundreds of thousands of fans and juniors crying out for direct professional representation.
It was a point raised above, but I’m not sure why there’s a belief that a more significant rivalry on another tier of a sport means there’s an impact on the legitimacy of an international rivalry.
The biggest rivalries in the most global sport of them all are at club level. Chelsea v Arsenal, City vs United, Real vs Barcelona, Roma vs Lazio... these clashes have an unrivalled amount of feeling to them. For most soccer fans across the globe, it’s club first/country second.
In the modern sporting world, rugby is a bit of an abnormality in that regard.