NRL proving to be the anti-expansion league

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By NF, NF is a Roar Guru

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    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.

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    The Crowd Says (278)

    • January 16th 2013 @ 7:35am
      Rodney McDonell said | January 16th 2013 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      Why this article now? Perhaps 6 months ago it would have made more sense. We all know the decision regarding Expansion. It’s tim to move on and wait until 2015.

    • January 16th 2013 @ 7:58am
      oikee said | January 16th 2013 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Share schemes are the future.
      Example, the Sharks sharing with Adelaide, play 3-4 games a year in Adelaide. The new plan would be to expand the under 20’s and juniors into every area.. This would be less expensive , grow support and become our yank college system.
      We might end up with 20-22 teams including Perth Adelaide, Central Queensland, Second Brisbane team, Wellington.
      It wont cost as much, expand the playing age to 22, this will allow the 16 nrl clubs to look at these younger players for longer to keep them in the game. Same as the yanks do, the Brisbane boy was 22 and just ended his college career.

      Rugby league cant make the mistake of just adding more teams, it costs a fortune and the game will forever be on the backfoot paying out cash to prop up all these teams. Teams could go 40 years without a win. The less teams you have, the stronger each team becomes.
      You only have to look at our game now, all teams are pretty equal, it took along time to balance all that. Add 2 new teams and that balance can and will be out of whack for a decade.

      The under 20’s will provide a career path for every area, every city and bring more fans into the game, like the NFL and college system.
      It costs alot less to run, and opens up alot more player opportunites for players and clubs.
      The second teir becomes stronger as well as more players come into the system.
      Our country is not big enough to support any more sporting teams. We are at saturation point now. With soccer looking for players, the NFL now looking, Union grabbing the islanders and taking them overseas, our stocks are quickly becoming depleted, only the strong will survivie, having more teams will just tighten the noose quicker.

      • January 16th 2013 @ 11:16am
        Mals said | January 16th 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        “Teams could go 40 years without a win” – early nomination for Oikee quote of the year 🙂

        • January 16th 2013 @ 12:24pm
          Baldie said | January 16th 2013 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

          Pretty obvious he means winning the comp.

      • January 17th 2013 @ 10:16am
        josh said | January 17th 2013 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        Cronulla’s just fine where they are, why don’t you nominate your Broncos to “share” with Darwin or Port Moresby for the greater good?

        • January 17th 2013 @ 11:53am
          oikee said | January 17th 2013 @ 11:53am | ! Report

          Real clever Josh, Brisbane only has a game every second week now and you want them to go promote the game into other centres, real clever mate.
          I mentione these things because they make sense, ok, lets say the Tigers then, i dont really care, as long as it is a Sydney team, geez.

    • January 16th 2013 @ 8:46am
      Terra Dactel said | January 16th 2013 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Think you will find News Ltd bailed out on Perth & Adelaide not RL. It was RL that added 4 clubs at once less than two decades ago. Do I see AFL with a NZ or Nth Qld franchise? Do I see Super Rugby in Nth Qld or Gold Coast? Anyway its not like NFL has added a team in Canada or Mexico.

    • January 16th 2013 @ 8:47am
      Sailosi said | January 16th 2013 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      I’m still not convinced that expansion actually works or is necessary. Why is there the need for a professional team in a geographical location in order for a sport to become popular? Especially these days when most sport from around the world is easily accessible via tv, internet etc.

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      • January 19th 2013 @ 4:47pm
        Jz said | January 19th 2013 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

        2 extra teams = and extra time slot each week more tv ratings = more cash next tv deal just like the Afl did

    • January 16th 2013 @ 8:48am
      Will Sinclair said | January 16th 2013 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      My understanding is that the NRL commissioned a report into expansion and found that it would add no value to the existing TV deal and only limited value in terms of new sponsorships.

      So the obvious question for the NRL is how they pay for new teams without new revenue streams.

      Private ownership has been tried in league (and other codes), and you have to say it’s a path fraught with danger.

      The other option is to maybe cut the funding to existing clubs, which would obviously necessitate a cut in the salary cap. I don’t think I need to tell you how that would play out.

      So the solutions are probably not as clear in reality as they are to your average arm-chair fan who thinks the NRL is the ultimate game and so why don’t we just start dumping teams all over the planet…

      • January 16th 2013 @ 9:11am
        turbodewd said | January 16th 2013 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        Will, id say private ownership is no more dangerous then what we have at the moment. The Cronulla Sharks have been a marginal proposition for years. Now we read half of the Wests Tigers JV (Balmain) is having issues.

        NRL clubs basically run on pokies….what kind of business model is that?!

    • January 16th 2013 @ 8:51am
      Pot Stirrer said | January 16th 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      Ever heard the story about the tortoise and the hare, Ru has diluted its quality by expansion to such an extent its showing in the wallabies performances. There is no point in expansion if the new team is anything but competitive by winning more than they lose. Nobody gets onboard with a losing team, it just doesnt grab your attention. If your expanding into an area where another code is dominant. Why would the supporter of a team in another code become interested if that new team is constantly getting beaten and especially if the side they are already supporting is not living upto thier expectations.

      • January 16th 2013 @ 9:28am
        Steve said | January 16th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        The difference between the NRL, AFL and rugby for instance is the fact that the national team of the NRL and AFL doesn’t get scrutinised as much or have comparisons made against it like the wallabies. In essence the NRL and AFL could have 30 team competitions so long as the difference between the ability of team 1 to 30 is kept to a minimum. Just imagine that Australia was the only country that played rugby union, we would never know how strong the competition is whether it be 5 teams or 25 teams because there would be nothing to compare it against.

        • January 16th 2013 @ 10:05am
          Greg said | January 16th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          Exactly, if it werent for the fact the wallabies get scrutinised by how they perform against the All Blacks, people wouldnt be so hard on them.

        • January 16th 2013 @ 1:19pm
          Pot Stirrer said | January 16th 2013 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          I do agree that that the wallabies are judged predominatley against the AB’s. But we did lose to Samoa last year and were thrashed by the french. Only just beat wales in the last minute. The only good game was against england and we prob should have lost that if it wasnt for some bad decisions by the English captain. RU has only grown the super rugby level and trying to provide players to 5 provinces that was previously only 3. Im also a RU fan but it is in real trouble in Australia imo becuase there are far greater oppurtunities for up and coming players to make a living in League which is why the league seems to have a production line in young talent. EG Reynolds,Moga, RTS, the whole bronco backline . Australia is even struggling in the sevens tournament. My point is if RU does not do something about the lack of oppurtunity for players to make a living out of playing and not just at the Aust and super rugby level the down slide will continue.

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