If what has been reported is true and the NRL takes a State of Origin match to Perth in 2019, then they should explain to rugby league fans the merit of taking one of rugby league’s showpieces away from Sydney and Brisbane to a city where there isn’t an NRL team.
Rugby league, as fantastic a sport as it is, will never become a national sport. It will never be embraced by all Australians like the AFL is.
The ARL tried to get a foothold in Adelaide with the ‘Adelaide Rams’ and Perth with the ‘Western Reds’ and it proved to be a failed venture.
Why then – unless the NRL is looking to expansion – would they take a Match between NSW and Queensland away from it’s passionate and loyal fans to the west coast of Australia and AFL heartland?
Sure, it’s justifiable to take a State Of Origin match to the MCG because the Melbourne Storm is based in Melbourne and Melburnians love and embrace their sport like no other city.
Or you could take it to Auckland, where the Warriors are based and the NRL has a huge following. However, to take it to Perth smells of greed and shows little or no respect to the true fans.
The NRL should be pouring more money in to junior and country rugby league – the grassroots – instead of trying to expand and develop rugby league in a town where they don’t even have an NRL team.
Moving forward the logistics of having an NRL team based in Perth will quite foreseeably prove to be a major challenge.
We can only assume that the NRL will be making an announcement on expansion into Perth sometime in the near future, if not then they will justifiably come under heavy scrutiny and criticism for a decision based on financial reward rather than for the good of the game.