Live scores
Live Commentary
Warriors : 6
Titans : 2
| 22:00

The NRL needs a vision

Rob9 Roar Guru

By Rob9, Rob9 is a Roar Guru


55 Have your say

    Related coverage

    Whether you love him or loathe him, Australian rugby league fans have got him for another four years. Within the last fortnight David Gallop has been reappointed NRL CEO by the Independent Commission for another four years.

    In my humble opinion, he’s been exactly what the league has needed since he first got the job 10 years ago. Considering the state the game was in when he took over the reins, he’s done an outstanding job.

    He brought rugby league back from the brink, helped it to find it’s identity in the professional era and has begun to grow the game in the right direction, albeit at a very slow and controlled pace.

    Moving into 2012, (a year that the much hyped Independent Commission is set to come online and the NRL rivers should be flowing with gold after the negotiation of a record TV deal) the game is at the dawn of a new and exciting period.

    Rugby league will be able to move ahead bravely and boldly with full faith in its product. A far cry from the cautious and guarded initiatives that the games administrators have employed to gradually grow the NRL over the last decade.

    With this in mind, one must wonder if Gallop is the right man to lead the game into this new era. After signing on for the next four years Gallop is quoted as saying, “we are entering a new period of opportunity that I am excited to be part of”.

    This gives me hope that David is ready to turn over a new leaf in his managerial style and make some big and exciting decisions to drive the game ahead, while still exercising his signature decision making approach of controlled growth.

    Considering the large amounts of money that are set to flow into the game in the coming years, our CEO must create a clear and defined vision of where he wants to take the game, taking a similar approach to his AFL counterpart.

    What has to override this is the desire to make the NRL better for the fans. There is one simple way that this can be achieved that has a flow on effect to many different aspects that all contribute to making a stronger product for the fans.

    Very simply, more fans means more money coming into the game from sponsors, the media and from the fans themselves. More money means a better product.

    Gallop has been at the helm during a period when some of the games biggest stars turned their back on the NRL in favour of Rugby, Super League and most recently the AFL. This cannot continue to happen.

    There’s one simple answer to this problem and its money. With the salary cap expected to increase to anywhere between six and eight million dollars in the coming years, things are being done to ensure the player drain is a thing of the past.

    However, the NRL must maintain this position as one of Australian sports best payers to keep its biggest and most talented stars. rugby league fans in this country deserve to see the best rugby league players in the world playing in the toughest competition in the world week in week out.

    Paying players accordingly will ensure that the playing talent in the NRL is as strong as it can be and some of the games biggest draw cards remain where they belong.

    More money (as a result of more fans) in the game can also create a better viewing spectacle for the fans on so many different levels. Obviously ensuring that the playing talent is at maximum strength and spread across the league helps with this too. As well as this there is the potential for developing better venues for fans to go and watch games from.

    More fans in general means more fans actually going to games which creates a better viewing experience for spectators at the game as well as those watching on TV at home.

    A stronger following also ensures the game will have better media coverage. Three free to air games per week (only one of which is live) isn’t exactly a strong position in the media for rugby league to exist from.

    All of these factors combine to create a stronger product for those new fans entering the game as well as those of us who are already invested but always wanting more. But the question remains, how does David Gallop do his job of capturing the hearts and minds of as many people as possible to build a better league?

    I believe there are two strategies he can use to take full advantage of the wave of good fortune that the NRL is set to ride.

    The first and most publicised is expansion. In the past I have put forward and argued with many of you over the merits of dropping the Sydney NRL clubs into a second tier and beginning again at the elite level in that area.

    I’ve proposed a streamlined 12 team competition that would include new teams from Perth and Gosford as well as a full time team in Wollongong and two new sides in Sydney.

    I still believe this format would be the optimum model for the game to take on to be as efficient, professional and economically stable/prosperous as possible.

    The problem is that realistically I don’t believe any current or future CEO possesses the manhood to put these Sydney clubs in a second tier where they should belong and create a competition structure at the elite level that is more up with the times.

    For this reason, we have to come to terms with the fact that the game will have to grow around the Sydney suburban competition structure that it was born out of in this country. As this is the case, I believe that all Sydney clubs need to remain in their current form. Dropping one or some will just isolate fans (case in point- North Sydney) and the NRL must work out how to grow while continuing to prop up these clubs.

    It won’t allow the game to be as economically prosperous as the model I’ve suggested, but the extra money flowing into the game should ensure these clubs can continue operating in the NRL.

    So now that we’re keeping the 16 teams as is, what other parts of the map does DG need to put a tack into? While capturing the hearts and minds of as many people as possible is vital for the games growth, it isn’t as simple as putting a team where people are and obviously a number of different factors need to be weighed up.

    As I’ve suggested above, Perth, Gosford and a full time team in Illawarra are my first three choices for the locations of the next NRL teams.

    Perth’s merits have been argued on this site and others so I won’t go into much detail. A quick summary includes the fact that Perth is our fourth largest city, booming and has a large population of NSW, Queensland and New Zealand expats.

    The demographics say it all but what’s also important is that for the game to grow substantially, it must make moves into uncharted territory and the west coast represents a great opportunity for rugby league.

    Gosford’s merits have also been extensively argued in other posts. Put simply, it’s a rugby league heartland, located between Sydney and Newcastle in an area that isn’t represented by an NRL team.

    There’s currently a large population there and it’s going to continue to grow as more and more people move north from Sydney and other parts of the country. The stadium’s there ready to go and they absolutely deserve a shot after being neglected for so long.

    I also believe that Wollongong deserves a full time NRL team just as much as these two areas. The argument for this takes on a similar form as the argument for a team on the Central Coast.

    Wollongong’s current representation in the NRL is an involvement in a team that doesn’t use their traditional strip or logo but to keep locals engaged in the sport they’re thrown a few Dragon’s home games each year. This isn’t good enough for a city the size of the ‘Gong.

    Just like Gosford, it’s growing at fast pace as affordability in Sydney becomes an increasingly problematic issue. Illawarra is also one of rugby league’s greatest heartlands and the region deserves far greater representation than the Dragons merger offers.

    Take the Illawarra out of the Dragons and the next closest team is in the Shire which is an hour away from Wollongong. I propose a de-merger of the Steelers and the Dragons with the two teams going back to the future with one playing explicitly out of WIN and the other out of Kogarah.

    If these teams were to be admitted it would create a 19 team competition which is a bit of a messy number. To bring it up to a neat 20 I would reluctantly bring in a second Brisbane team. I say reluctantly because although I believe a second team can be a success in Brisbane, it will come at a cost to an existing NRL club (the Broncos).

    However, the Broncos are in the best position of all NRL clubs to absorb any such cost and over time a strong rivalry can be built between themselves and a new club that has the potential to make rugby league even stronger in the greater Brisbane area.

    What also has to happen with a second team in Brisbane is the model that the ‘Bombers’ are putting up has to be put on the scrap heap (including the name). If a second Brisbane team were to enter the league it would have to provide a point of difference to the Broncos. Currently the Broncos are based and play out of a venue on the north side of Brisbane.

    I believe the point of difference should be establishing a team on the south side of the river. This could involve renovating QEII or building a boutique 30-40,000 seat venue close to a large commercial centre on the south side. With the Roar playing out of a venue that is far too big for them, there could be a case for building such a stadium. By tapping into the north/south divide that already exists in Brisbane, there is the potential for developing a great rugby league rivalry in the town.

    This would create a 20 team competition. It would be up to the powers that be as to whether they bring these teams in all at once, two at a time or at a steady flow. Regardless, this is where I believe the NRL should be heading. Past this, cities such as Adelaide, the Sunshine Coast and Rockhampton are the next places they should be looking at but this 20 team model would suffice for the next 5 to 10 years.

    Having decided what areas to expand to in the short term, the next aspect that needs to be looked at is creating an exciting competition structure that meets the needs of players and fans.

    With these 20 teams I would structure a league that involves 5 pools of 4 teams. The competition draw would involve teams playing each team once then the 3 teams in their pool a second time.

    This would create a 22 round season with 11 home games. You could still include a bye for each team during the Origin period to create a regular season length of 23 weeks. A slightly shorter season is one issue that I think the NRL must come to terms with to address player burnout while continuing to develop the representative scene.

    The five pools I would have would be structured like this;

    A Queensland pool that involves the Broncos, Brisbane 2, NQ and the Gold Coast.

    A Western Sydney pool involving Parramatta, West Tigers, Canterbury and Penrith.

    An East Sydney pool involving Cronulla, St George, Souths and Easts.

    A North/Coastal New South Wales pool involving Manly, CC, Newcastle and Illawarra.

    And finally a Southern pool involving Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and NZ.

    These pools would create a more meaningful competition that involves extra games against regional rivals, thus generating more ‘blockbuster’ games that have the potential of attracting strong crowds/viewers and of course more money for the game.

    At the end of the regular season the final series would involve the top team from the top 4 pools and then the next 4 highest ranked teams after that regardless of what pool they are in. This structure would help build on the rivalry between the teams in each pool as there would be an emphasis on finishing first in the pool to have a 4 in 5 chance of guaranteeing a spot in the finals.

    This is my vision for the NRL given the reality that there will never be any big shake up of the structure of the game in Sydney. Given that you’re reading this particular rugby league article, I’m sure you have your own vision that could be similar or nothing like what I have proposed here.

    For the benefit of the game moving forward and becoming an even better product, I just hope and pray that the only guy who really matters in all of this has his vision that he is ready to unleash upon all of us and drive the game to new heights in this country.

    Do you find yourself logged out of The Roar?
    We have just switched over to a secure site (https). This means you will need to log-in afresh. If you need help with recovering your password, please get in contact.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (55)

    • February 7th 2012 @ 1:26pm
      turbodewd said | February 7th 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

      I agree that Gallop has done a good job considering the impossible task he faces.

      Alas your solution doesnt hold up very well.

      20 teams is too many, it spreads TV revenue too thinly. Promotion/relegation wont work, who wants to watch a football team which cant reach the GF?! Its alien to Australian sporting culture.

      St.Geo/Illawarra is a succesful merger and Wollongong ppl seem happy with it.

      CCoast is too small for an NRL team, its only 45min from Sydney, and we already have 11 NSW/ACT teams in the NRL, another one we dont need. SEQ doesnt need another NRL team, 2 is enough, and we dont need more pressure on the Titans. I guarantee if you admit Brisbane 2 that the Titans will fold and RL forever loses the GCoast to the AFL.

      The NRL should only admit Perth in 2014 and save for a warchest to win over the locals. The NRL can run fine with 17 teams.

      • Roar Guru

        February 7th 2012 @ 1:41pm
        The Cattery said | February 7th 2012 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        I think one day in the future a 20 team will be possible – but in the modern age, it’s very, very hard to just tack on four new teams out of the blue.

        Perhaps 18 teams has to be a first step, and we could consider three conferences of six teams apiece:

        Gold Coast
        Central Coast-Manly


        St George

        You play the teams in your own conference twice, and all the others once, giving exactly 22 games in total.

        The top 2 from each conference qualify automatically for the finals. The best performed 3rd placed team qualifies automatically, and the other two 3rd placed teams play-off mid week for the remaining finals berth.

        • February 7th 2012 @ 2:55pm
          B.A Sports said | February 7th 2012 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

          I agree with the conference system. It means you build up rivalries and you get to play those rivals home and away every season.

          Right now there are a few “derbies” but not alot of rivalries, and even some of the exisiting “rivalries” don’t reallyget you too fired up.

          I still don’t see the depth to expand the game. But 16 teams in four, four team conferences where you play the other three teams in your conference twice (6 games) everyone else once (12 games) and two other conferences and second time (6 more games -rotating the conferences each year is the way to go) gives you your 24 matche sfor the season.

          As for Gallop, I think he has done a pretty good jib. I don’t agree with every decision, but that obviously doesn’t make him wrong. I do think though he is more of an “operations” guy not a strategist, and given his recent comments about protecting the Sydney clubs is testimony to that. He needs to have a vision for 2025 and if that vision involves 9 Sydney teams, thats a problem. His vision seems to be restricted to the length of his own employment terms which is going to inhibit the games ability to grow to a place where it can acomodate 18 – 20 teams.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 7th 2012 @ 4:01pm
          Stuart Fazakerley said | February 7th 2012 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

          So the Eastern conference just have to travel around Sydney to play their games, whereas Melbourne have to travel to Perth and NZ? And Perth and NZ have to travel to each other? Unworkable. You would need to spread the Sydney teams out or not bother.

          As for Gallop, I never thought much of him until I saw how he handled the Storm salary cap issue.

          After that, I don’t think anything of him. He struggled with the focus it brought on him and his decision making, and still has a lot of bridges to mend down here.

          (That’s not a comment on the actions taken against the Storm by the NRL, which were well founded – just the steps Gallop took during and after the process.)

          • February 7th 2012 @ 5:35pm
            Rob9 said | February 7th 2012 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

            “So the Eastern conference just have to travel around Sydney to play their games, whereas Melbourne have to travel to Perth and NZ? And Perth and NZ have to travel to each other? Unworkable. You would need to spread the Sydney teams out or not bother.”

            The point of this conference structure is to create more local derbies which have so much potential to be the heart and soul of this league. As all teams would be playing each other once, Sydney teams would still travel to either Perth and Auckland in a season. It’s just that teams in that southern conference would be playing each other home and away so more central places like Melbourne and Canberra would be making two reasonably long distance trips each season in stead of one. Hardly the end of the world.

            • February 7th 2012 @ 9:46pm
              Fitzy said | February 7th 2012 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

              So Melb has to travel to NZ and Perth and vice versa, but Bulldogs might get away with those teams aving to play at their home oval? How unfair is that and what an dvantage, fans dont like to see their team have to fight harder than other teams! Why not have two conferences and play every team twice in your conference, have top six in each conference play other top six in the other conference and top 8 goes thru. That will give 18 rounds in home and away and six rounds of extra games for teams that do well, natural selection will take care of Sydney based teams that perform poorly and eventually you will get back to 14 teams. Top eight of the top 12 play finals.

              • February 7th 2012 @ 10:46pm
                Rob9 said | February 7th 2012 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

                As I suggested above, you would structure the home and away season so all teams outside of that southern conference would have to travel to either Auckland or Perth once during the season. Yes, under this structure Canberra and Melbourne would have to make both of those trips once during the season but an extra 8 or so hours (return) of travel over the duration of a 23 week season is hardly a huge disadvantage. Remember that NZ (and if we include a Perth team) have to travel this far to all of their away games regardless of the structure of the season. It didn’t seem to bother the Warriors last year.

        • February 8th 2012 @ 11:37am
          Meesta Cool said | February 8th 2012 @ 11:37am | ! Report

          Good in principle, but have you considered the travelling costs for group 1 and 2 against group 3… can’t work!.

      • February 7th 2012 @ 5:34pm
        Rob9 said | February 7th 2012 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

        Turbodewd, Agreed 20 teams is a big jump to make initially. I said nothing about promotion/relegation and who says that at 20 teams you would need such a system? If I were in DG’s shoes I would be informing Perth and CC this year that they’re in from 2014 or 2015 at the latest. They’ve got the stadiums in place, this gives them time to put a full team/organisation together and start the developmental and marketing process of informing and getting the public on side (particularly important in Perth which the NRL should get behind). I’d also be taking this to the negotiating table with the networks to maximise the next deal. What I would also be taking with me to the negotiating table is the rest of the plan of Brisbane 2 (Football in metro Brisbane every weekend) and St George Illawarra demerger by 2018. In form these organisations and give them as much time as possible to prepare themselves. I’ve lived in the middle of the Steelers and Dragons for most of my life and I can tell you I know many from both sides who aren’t all that happy with the current arrangements, particularly those from the south. Wollongong is a city in its own right an hour away from Sydney. It’s big and will get bigger and as a heartland its being badly under represented by the league.

    • February 7th 2012 @ 1:40pm
      db swannie said | February 7th 2012 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

      They must add two team does not ad an extra game per that would not get the extra $$$.
      As for DG,I was always a critic,as he seemed to be a News ltd yes man….but since talk of them exiting he seems to more pro active in talking up RL..
      I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt without having to serve Two masters..
      He will also not be making the BIG decisions,that will be up to the IC.

      Under the IC RLwill finally be united.we have been held back by mismanagment,in fighting,news ltd selling the game to itself for less than its worth,clubs only looking out for themselves,and many other issues,yet the game is in better shape than ever. Despite being starved of money,& despite having the station with the rights hording it,Not promoting the game ,& basically promoting AFL,& its Ex players.(a result of ex AFL men in high positions in 9) We only get decent coverage in two states yet beat the AFL nationally by millions of viewers.It will be great to see RL taking on its main rivals without one hand tied behind its back .

    • February 7th 2012 @ 2:12pm
      Andrew said | February 7th 2012 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

      There’s 3 minutes of my life I’ll never get back…

      The Illawarra had a team….and blew it…. But you want to give them a second chance over teams like The Eels and The Bulldogs who support their team always?

      • February 7th 2012 @ 5:36pm
        Rob9 said | February 7th 2012 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

        “The Illawarra had a team….and blew it…. But you want to give them a second chance over teams like The Eels and The Bulldogs who support their team always?”

        If that’s what you took out of this, can I suggest take another 3 of your precious minutes and actually think about the words on the screen in front of you.

    • February 7th 2012 @ 3:28pm
      Rin said | February 7th 2012 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

      Another week another article on NRL expansion plans/development of the game, and dont get me wrong the articles are good, and are needed to facilltate discussion however recurring themes (some of them somewhat misguided) can be slightly annoying though:
      (a) NRL is going to have so much money in the next few years etc, lets first see the broadcasting rights and even then the NRL is not going to be swimming in money considering most clubs are struggling and need financial help e,g, titans.
      (b) The need to drop a Sydney club. Wont happen
      (c) NRL is the toughest game on earth (somewhat subjective and in any case most likely wrong)
      (d) Everyone all over Australia plays and watches NRL and a team will be successful nearly everywhere, e.g. Perth just because it is currently booming and there are a couple thousand Qld,/NSW fly in fly out mine workers who support the NRL now living there.

      • February 7th 2012 @ 5:37pm
        Rob9 said | February 7th 2012 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

        (a)Agreed the final figure handed down from the next TV deal is a mystery but it’s safe to say it will be a significant increase on anything professional Rugby League has ever seen before. Plans have to be in place that have an eye on the future.
        (b)Agree it probably won’t happen. That’s the whole point of this article, to suggest that no CEO will drop Sydney’s clubs into a strong second tier. That being the case they shouldn’t loose one of the current clubs because those fans will no longer be represented by the NRL. Not a desirable situation.
        (c) The NRL is a Rugby League competition. Not a game. It is by far and away the toughest Rugby League competition on earth and I want it to stay that way.
        (d)Clearly not a fan of the Perth bid and you’re dramatically under stating the situation in the west for your purposes.

        • February 8th 2012 @ 12:20pm
          Ian Whitchurch said | February 8th 2012 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

          Any second tier will rapidly cease to be strong as it is abandoned by fans and sponsors.

          Within living memory, you could earn two thirds of what you could in the big league playing in the Brisbane rugby league comp, the SANFL or the WAFL.

          Today, you earn about 10% of that you earn in the big league.

          • February 8th 2012 @ 2:33pm
            Rob9 said | February 8th 2012 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

            Q-Cup is a strong and successful second tier that adds support to the NRL.

    • February 7th 2012 @ 3:41pm
      Thom said | February 7th 2012 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

      The season is already too long…

      Every year there are marquee players injured for the most important part of the season! I think it would awesome to see players careers lasting longer by shortening to 16 regular season games. Simple and fair… everyone plays everyone once. This also makes time and space for stand alone Origin weeks!

      I like that the NFL is shorter. By the time the season starts everyone is sooooo excited about it coming around again! The standard of play is also positively effected by the long pre-season for the players. A problem they do have is that dividing into conferences and divisions is not entirely fair, because teams from weaker conferences make the play-offs over better teams from stronger divisions. This is an advantage we have in a smaller market. We shouldn’t be too fast to copy their models for the sake of it.

      Is it not reasonable to think that attendance might be better if there were less games to get to??

      Just a few thoughts, thanks!

      • February 7th 2012 @ 6:30pm
        B.A Sports said | February 7th 2012 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

        I think I agree with you Thom.

        Fewer games makes them more premium. more premium for viewers, for people wanting to go to the game and for advertsiers,. It also makes the games more important in the context of the competition and thus players will strive harder all the time.

        If we played Origin 24 times a year it would soon lose it’s luster.

    • February 7th 2012 @ 4:29pm
      Paul said | February 7th 2012 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

      How can u say Syd is saturated with to many teams and then want to put a team on the central coast 91 klm from Newcastle. Are you suggesting newcastle should be dropped from the competition. Putting a team on the central coast wont happen and shouldnt happen.

      • February 7th 2012 @ 5:38pm
        Rob9 said | February 7th 2012 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

        If you really want to know the answer to that question Paul I’d happily tell you, but something tells me you’re seriously anti CC bid and the explanation would be lost on you.

        • February 7th 2012 @ 9:06pm
          Beowulf said | February 7th 2012 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

          I’ll have a go Rob9!

          Paul, the Central Coast is a region, with its own identity that thrives on competing against the big brother to the north Newcastle and the big smoke to the south. Newcastle want the F3 RL derby to replicate whats happenning in soccer – Jets v Mariners is one of the shining lights of the competition. A RL version Bears v Knights will be 10x bigger given the mania for League on the Coast.

          As D Gallop said, the number of teams in Sydney is one of the major pluses of the competition becuase of rivalries and multi-generational supporters – it works everywhere except northern Sydney/Central Coast, which has been butchered with the loss of the Bears. There is a 1 million catchment without a team screaming for it, which includes the 3rd largest corporate area in Australia – and it has no local team to sponsor!

          Given Gallops thoughts, its a small step to conculde that the Bears will be brought in to solve the problem before they look at interstate expansion – exactly for the reasons of the rivalries they add and the ability to bring back to the game so many fans lost to AFL and Union. Bears 2014 and WA or a QLD team in 2015, as the AFL have done, or Bears +1 in 2015.

          If the Bears aren’t admitted, the NRL will go through another fall away in support as those who have kept the faith in the integrity and honour of the game will just walk away in disgust. Even fans of other teams strongly support the Bears cause because its morally and strategically right.

          • February 8th 2012 @ 9:04am
            Paul said | February 8th 2012 @ 9:04am | ! Report

            Sorry mate i disagree, Another team inbetween the eagles and newcastle does not make sense. It will only dilute the supporter base of existing teams. I dont believe anyone will walk away from the game if they dont get a team. The central coast should be part of Newcastle imo. Also its not that im anti CC, i just cant see the sense in it given its an area already supporting league and all the arguments for and the polls that everyone seems to mention are preaching to the converted, thats why i like the WA expansion, there is a much larger potential to bring NEW fans to the CODE,
            Aslo the AFL is not the threat that everyone is pannicking about, I have made my comment on this in another thread. I also dont think im any type of expert or marketing know all, I just cant see it happening and/or being the right move.

            • February 8th 2012 @ 11:43am
              Beowulf said | February 8th 2012 @ 11:43am | ! Report

              There is no dilution – Bears fans in general did not become Sea Eagles fans! They became Swans/Waratahs fans. Dilution would be adding a second Brisbane side. David Gallop has said the game has lost 40,000 fans with the Bears out of the comp, I can assure you there are as many that maintain interest in the hope the Bears are returned. Deny them now, thats it for League for northern Sydney, ever. Which also means no team ever for the Cnetral Coast. If they have any strategic vision, its the easiest decision of all.

              They’ll have to bring in 2 teams regardless, so it well may be Bears and WA. The Titans are in a huge financial hole, bigger than the Sharks according to Phil Rothfield. No SEQ team will be entered whislt they’re vulnerable, and Rockhampton is not big enough for a side yet.

              • February 9th 2012 @ 1:06pm
                clipper said | February 9th 2012 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

                Beowulf, if this was the case, they can’t have been solid league fans. A lot of the northern suburbs has been Rugby territory and there is a lot of Aussie Rules support. This is different from the west and south, which if they lost a team would still be league fans. When Fitzroy and South Melbourne left the AFL, did their fans suddenly become league, football or Rugby fans?