Building a league for 2050 requires the NRL to start planning now

Rob9 Roar Guru

By Rob9, Rob9 is a Roar Guru


95 Have your say

    Recently I was lucky enough to attend a conference where Bernard Salt was one of the keynote speakers.

    Bernard’s a futurist commentator who studies demographic and social trends, and paints a picture of what Australia might look like in 20 or 30 years from now (and beyond).

    The journey he described for Australia over the next 30 years was one defined by enormous change and opportunity for our great country, and as my head is never too far from sport, it got me thinking: what could this dynamic landscape of change and opportunity mean for the greatest game of all?

    Firstly, to take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead while keeping pace with the constantly evolving world, we need administrators with a different psyche.

    To date, rugby league’s powerbrokers have played what’s in front of them, showing almost zero ability or desire to look beyond the end of the current TV deal. We’ve had reactive, as opposed to proactive, leaders at the helm and in short, this needs to change!

    By mid-century, Australia will be home to around 40 million people. That’s over double the population that existed when the NRL was established in 1998. What makes this even more promising is the fact that the majority of this growth has and will continue to come from the rugby league heartland states of New South Wales and Queensland.

    Sydney and Melbourne will be home to around 8 million people each, while Brisbane and Perth will double their populations to 4.5 million. The Gold Coast will exceed the 1 million mark and there will be regional centres dotted all the way up and down the east coast with populations around half a million.

    I’m not saying the NRL administrators go out and start throwing dots on maps tomorrow. But to take advantage of the future while continuing to establish itself as a mighty empire on the domestic sporting landscape, every decision made must support the vision the game wants to carve for itself in the future.

    That vision needs to be pulled together using projections and strategic thinking in order to come up with the template for how the NRL will fit into a future Australia.

    Rationalisation in Sydney
    This has been a hot topic within the game for at least two decades and I don’t see it going away.

    As mentioned, Sydney will add 3 million people to its population over the next three decades, but the goal of the NRL should be establishing super clubs of the Broncos’ ilk, as opposed to just keeping clubs’ noses above water.

    Even with a population of 8 million, the game in Sydney isn’t getting to a point where we have nine clubs operating at a level anywhere near what Brisbane achieve.

    Although I recognise the need for change, I understand the importance of history and traditions, and what I propose for this rationalisation process involves respecting and accommodating those elements as best we can.

    The magic number in Sydney is six, with those teams representing the North East, City/East, South East, South West, West and North West.

    To achieve this, while still maintaining links with those historical brands, I would move three teams from metropolitan Sydney. The Dragons will go to Woolongong full time and drop ‘St George’ from their name. The Roosters will base themselves permanently on the Central Coast, an area where they have already established strong links. Finally, the Tigers will put ‘Coast’ in the middle of their name and head to Perth.

    These three teams will keep their historical ties to their Sydney bases and establish new supporter bases in promising communities, where they will play all of their home games. They will also play three or four away games against Sydney opposition, which will provide an opportunity for their old fans to watch and maintain support of their team.

    The mould for such change was successfully created by the AFL when South Melbourne was relocated to Sydney.

    Of the teams left in Sydney, the only major change will be the Rabbitohs, who will return closer to their spiritual home and be known as the team for Sydney’s city and Eastern suburbs.

    This would also leave a scenario where three teams would be based out of the major Sydney stadia (ANZ, Allianz and the new Parramatta stadium). With a smaller number of active suburban grounds (Southern Cross, Brookvale and Pepper Stadiums), the NRL could lobby the state government to channel more funding into these venues to make them more comfortable while maintaining that unique ‘suburban ground’ feel (think Central Coast Stadium).

    Through this process, the heartlands of the game get the NRL representation they deserve, with clubs that already have existing links. It also provides a legitimate model for expansion outside of our heartland states by tinkering with an existing entity that’s a good fit for a large and growing market that has a significant East Coast expat community, and the corporate capacity to have a red-hot go at building a rugby league community in the west.

    Downcast Wests Tigers fan

    Photo: Joe Frost

    Rugby league in Brisbane every weekend
    The fact that this doesn’t already occur in a city as big and as rugby league mad as Brisbane is a travesty.

    I wouldn’t fill this gap by relocating a Sydney team, as I have doubts whether Queenslanders will embrace a brand that has built its history deep inside enemy territory.

    Working with the Broncos, I would leverage off the north-south of the river rivalry, which would help to see this game become one of the biggest on the NRL calendar.

    With the Broncos based in Red Hill and playing out of Suncorp Stadium, I would give them north of the river, including the country’s third-largest council, Moreton Bay Regional Council.

    The new team would take south of the river, including Redlands, Logan City and Ipswich. Initially, they would play out of Suncorp, but a new, boutique stadium on the southside could also take the Roar away from Suncorp, lightening the load on the busy Cauldron track, while providing these teams with a stadium that’s a more logical fit.

    This creates a 17-team competition that’s a perfect fit for the current conditions. The Sydney market becomes more efficient, large regional cities in New South Wales gain an NRL presence, expansion occurs in Perth, and Brisbane is more adequately represented.

    Then it’s time to shoot for the stars, and for the game to decide where it wants to be 20 to 30 years down the track, based on what the country will look like.

    Sam Thaiday Brisbane Broncos NRL Rugby League 2017 tall

    Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Further expansion
    Adelaide will become ripe for the picking within the next 30 years, the expectation being it will have a population that mirrors Perth at present, making the Rams ‘take two’ a worthy expansion option.

    Within the next 30 years, Southeast Queensland will also require further representation, as the population between Coolangatta and Noosa swells to exceed 6 million.

    I know a Western Corridor bid, representing Logan and Ipswich, is popular, but if a boutique rectangular stadium can be built on the Southside to house a second Brisbane team, home game travel will still be accessible for these areas, and Brisbane 2 can remain their local team.

    I suggest taking a fourth Southeast Queensland team a little further from the capital, locating them on the booming Sunshine Coast. The population here is expected to double, to match the Gold Coast’s current population of 600,000 over the next 30 years, making it a juicy prospect.

    Other regional cities that currently have populations between 100 and 200,000 will grow to close to half a million by 2050, meaning the NRL should be keeping a close eye on two particular regions.

    There will be a population of over 1 million people between Bundaberg and Mackay by 2050 and by then, this rugby league heartland will deserve a professional presence. I suggest basing a Central Queensland team in Rockhampton, which is slap-bang in the middle of this stretch.

    Finally, Cairns is on track to overtake Townsville’s population, hitting the half-million mark by 2050. A North Queensland derby would provide yet another highlight on the NRL calendar.

    Kyle Feldt North Queensland Cowboys NRL Rugby League 2017 tall

    AAP Image/Michael Chambers

    These 21 teams would tap into one of the game’s great strengths: tribalism.

    Upon reaching 21 teams, I would break the competition into three conferences of seven, to leverage this tribalism and ensure these regional rivals are playing each other home and away, while also strengthening the importance of these derbies as intra-conference blockbusters.

    There would be a Sydney conference for the city’s six teams, as well as the Central Coast Roosters. Then a Queensland conference for the three teams currently in the Sunshine State, along with Brisbane 2, the Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland and Cairns. Finally, there would be a Southern conference for Newcastle, Illawarra, Canberra, Melbourne, Auckland, Perth and Adelaide.

    While I would suggest these foundations should be put in place sooner rather than later, it’s not about racing out and putting dots on maps ASAP. I wouldn’t even discuss the first of the four new expansion areas for at least 15 years. But it’s important to have a long-term plan to guide today’s decision-making and ensure that action is being taken to push the game in the desired direction.

    For this plan, that involves focusing on the grassroots in these four regions, creating a pathway that includes representation in second-tier competitions, involvement and consultation in state government planning, and continuing to take regular-season games to these places.

    What would your 2050 vision for the NRL competition look like?

    Have Your Say

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    The Crowd Says (95)

    • August 16th 2017 @ 7:50am
      Chris Wright said | August 16th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      In an ideal world, this Sydney rationalization sounds great. But the reality is the fans of those clubs would 1- Stop following the club 2- Organise mass rallies against the changes and in that way disrupt the League. Court rulings would follow and it would become an expensive exercise. The Mergers have actually worked better than I thought they would even though they are still fraught with plenty of issues. My club, St George-Illawarra still has a deeply divided fan base. The long term vision for the club merger was to survive through the early years and then capitalize on the younger generation who knew nothing else but the merged entity. However it is amazing how small things change the landscape. The original intention to move the Dragons close to full time to Wollongong has been scuppered simply by the easy money on offer to play games at ANZ Stadium. The Government happy to pay teams to play out of there yet the same government continues to ask for high fees (and absolutely no chance of offering a similar pay deal to play) at another of their owned stadiums, Win Stadium.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 9:13am
        Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        No doubt rationalising Sydney is a minefield and an emotive subject. If an administrator were to ever have the guts to take it on, a turbulent time for the game would no doubt follow. But the game would have to view the situation as short term pain for long term gain. And there’s little doubt that when the dust settles, what’s left would be far more efficient without the game being held back by a structure where over half of the competition is based in one city. And what I’ve suggested here attempts to solve the problem with minimal upheaval. 2 of the 3 relocated teams already have strong ties to the area being suggested and they’re still within an hours drive of their historical fan base. I completely agree it would present more than a few challenges along the way but what’s left will be worth it in the end and for the long term efficiency of the game.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 1:28pm
        The Fatman said | August 16th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        Make Cameron Smith the CEO if the NRL when he retires.

        The guy is a go getting gun.

        • August 16th 2017 @ 2:22pm
          Ian Paterson said | August 16th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

          The game will be bankrupt if Smithy gets anywhere near the cheque book

    • Roar Guru

      August 16th 2017 @ 7:52am
      Con Scortis said | August 16th 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      I was listening to Todd Greenburg last night on Triple M. He was asked about expansion to Perth by 2022 (for the new TV deal) and his answer was, “Well, geeze, people say to me that a week’s a long time in rugby league, let alone what 2022 looks like, so you might need a crystal ball for that one”.

      Seriously, this is the NRL’s CEO? Isn’t he supposed to have vision? Isn’t he supposed to have a plan? If a similar question was asked of the AFL’s Gill McLachlan, I reckon you would have gotten a different answer.

      So Rob9, unfortunately there ain’t no f…ing plan.!podcast

      • August 16th 2017 @ 9:16am
        Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        What a timely and telling statement Con. It’s frightening that the people charged with running the game can be so short-sighted. Forget only planning ahead to the end of a TV deal – these clowns look about as far ahead as the end of their own nose.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 1:17pm
        Albo said | August 16th 2017 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

        Yep ! Todd is a fine product of skilled management and planning expertise obviously gained from his years at the helm of the Dogs !!!

        • Roar Guru

          August 16th 2017 @ 1:56pm
          The Barry said | August 16th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

          The Dogs were in dire straits when he got on board and have descended back there after he’s gone.

          Say what you like about his performance at the NRL but he did a great job at the Dogs.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 11:40pm
        Matt dustby said | August 16th 2017 @ 11:40pm | ! Report

        Having a team in Perth isn’t visionary

    • Roar Guru

      August 16th 2017 @ 8:16am
      Magnus M. Østergaard said | August 16th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      I have a bone to pick with you. There is no ‘north-south of the river rivalry’. In 21 years of being born in Brisbane then raised in Ipswich have I ever seen or heard of a ‘north-south of the river rivalry’. Agree there must be another team, but creating an artificial rivalry is not the way to go. Same way that the Brisbane Bombers have created their bid of being ‘Not the Broncos’ its too artificial and gimmicky. Honestly, another club in SEQ won’t immediately have a strong rivalry despite location it will be a friendly rivalry.

      Heck, despite the the recent string of Cowboys v Broncos hard fought battles that rivalry is no more than a friendship. It is simply too hard to build hate between QLD clubs. Bring back the Crushers, I truly think the team that comes back will have to be the South Queensland ‘Seventeen’ and will really need to work hard on growing from the ground up and be a solid grassroots and family club with links to Ipswich, Toowoomba, Logan and the Sunshine Coast, it should spend a season or 3 in the Queensland Cup and then grow from there. The future expansion of the QLD Cup is ripe for this work.

      With regards to some of your other points, Dragons should move primarlity to Wollongong, I agree, but they still need to play at Kogarah. Perhaps a 7/5 split and a 6/5/1 with the Gong, Kogarah and the SCG. But they can not remove St George from their name, its too iconic.

      Sydney Roosters can do the same, but it must be a gradual process. Take 2 games there next year and 3 the year after. Test the waters from there, see if there is actual support on the CC and see if it will be for the Roosters. They might love their rugby league, but do they love it enough to see the Roosters every fortnight? That being said I don’t think you can remove massive clashes like the ANZAC Day clash v Dragons from the schedule.

      I am on the borderline about a Tigers move to Perth. I have seen a lot of comments about the Perth locals yes wanting more footy but not wanting it to be a Sydney discard. The name works but the club is finding its feet at the moment, the membership base is growing rapidly despite seasons of turmoil and they are gradually rediscovering their identity. Maybe they could play 2 or 3 games there a year as well and see how it works out for them. A Tigers move could and probably almost certainly would leave half their fans leaving the sport, especially since its not that long since the merger.

      I am assuming you’ve made the choice of the following stadia agreements: Rabbitohs/Allianz, Bulldogs/ANZ, Parramatta/WSS?

      I do understand that this is an extreme long term plan, but I think youre making a pretty broad assumption that population = guaranteed interest and while I don’t think that we should dismiss that theory we should also take a look at where that population is coming from. The majority of the immigration population (I would say 90% plus) would have little interest or awareness of the sport (As of 2016, 26% of the Australian population was born overseas – a 120 year high). So that needs to be considered, especially as a majority are coming from India (cricket), UK (football) and China (football).

      I think what Rugby League needs to do is increase awareness of the game on a grassroots and international level.

      Sure move clubs around, get clubs set up in areas where there will be a population boom, but people need to be aware of the game and the games being played. Make going to games events, something that immigrants/non-Rugby League fans will want to go to, not because of the sport (initially) but because they are local community events that have a vibrant and pulsating atmosphere. Work hard on grassroots make it attractive, get the increasing population involved early, get them to love the sport and build pathways for them to play at a higher level. From there you can start building successful clubs in Adelaide, Perth etc.

      On an international level, continue putting effort in getting the rising European scene off the ground, it wouldn’t hurt the NRL to put in a bit of a hand here. Get North America and the Carribean more involved grow it from there. Is there interest in India and China for contact sports? Dip the toe.

      Honestly Im not sure and we do need to be looking at 2050, but what we need to be looking at is growing from the ground up and not the top down, that will lead to clubs with no base and they will end up toppling over.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 9:55am
        Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Having done all of my schooling years in Brisbane (lived on the northside and went to high school on the south making lots of friends with people on that side of town), then come back to work there following university and now based just down the road on the Gold Coast, I have a very different take on the north/south rivalry than you. I’ll accept that you have had different exposure to it, but in my experience a rivalry between each side of the river (at least in the metro area – may be not so much in Ipswich) is very much real and alive and any new team in Brisbane should work with the Broncos to leverage it.

        I’m not for the concept of ground sharing arrangements. As mentioned, one of the greatest assets that rugby league has (ironically born out of the suburban structure of the competition which now holds the game back in Sydney) is that tribalism. That becomes diluted when you have a team bouncing all over town and hoping from one city to the next.

        The three teams I’ve chosen and the areas for relocation haven’t been randomly selected. 2 of them already have strong ties embedded within the community I’ve suggested. In the case of the Tigers, given the cracks that have opened up in their club in more recent times and the off field instability (which has probably transferred over to their on field performance to some degree) that has defined the club, they’d be my choice to take the big move from Sydney across the Nullarbor. The fact that only minor name adjustment would be required meaning the integrity of the current brand could remain intact is an added bonus. Obviously the Roosters have started taking games to the CC and it appears to have caught on. The fact that they have created strong junior ties to the area has also helped this process and makes them a natural fit if a relocation were to happen, as opposed to simply picking them up and dropping them somewhere. Given the CC is as much of a heartland of the game as anywhere in the country, an hour from Sydney with a significant and growing population, I think it’s fair to assume they could support a team based their fulltime.

        In no what what-so-ever do I assume population = interest. I thought that would be pretty clear given 3 of the 4 relocations/expansions are in heartland regions where interest is a known variable. The fourth area (Perth) has a large enough and growing population (including a large community of east coast expats) with the corporate capacity to support a professional team. The games that have been taken over there are evidence of this so if there is a place to expand to at the moment, there is no place more worthy than the west coast. Then in terms of the 30 year plan, again 3 of the 4 areas are rugby league heartlands and much of their future growth will come from natural increase and intrastate and NSW migration so it’s fair to assume they will still be rugby league heartlands when they have a population that’s large enough to support a professional presence.

        Completely agree, expansion happens at more levels than just the top. It’s happening at levels underneath the professional tier in places like Perth, the Gong and Gosford right now which is why they will have the foundations in place to support a professional presence. More work needs to be done in the other 4 locations I’ve mentioned (which is why I discussed the strategies to achieve this in the article: “creating a pathway that includes representation in second-tier competitions, involvement and consultation in state government planning, and continuing to take regular-season games to these places”) but that’s why it’s called a 30 year plan. There’s plenty of time to do these things – we just need a plan to actually achieve it.

        • August 16th 2017 @ 1:29pm
          mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

          An interesting thing (assuming Salt’s presentation hasn’t changed in the past 3 months) is that I remember him highlighting two things that are going to be very tough for league to navigate.

          1. The traditional consumer market for sport in that 20-50 bracket is going to be made up of an incredibly large portion of immigrants. Yes you can point to the current make up of some teams but that down plays two differences from the mid 1900s to now.

          One they’ll make up a much larger portion of their age bracket so they will have less pressure to assimilate and place more influence on a change in anglo Australian culture I imagine he highlighted that this happened to an extent even with the largely enculturalised Mediterraneans how changes the English floor plan and, in his view, introduced outdoor living. I think they call it transculturalisation?

          Two the IOT (I’d call salt a demographer, futurists seem to be more looking at big changes that change the very way we live). These new immigrants don’t have to become fans of the local sport because they can still consume other sports that they were already exposed to.

          Given the “heartland” aspect of sport is rooted in cultural significance this equals bad for the NRL as a marquee professional sport, if Salt is right.

          2. The grass roots way sport thrives (get em young) will be challenged also if Salt is right and kids will be a sign of wealth (though his rationale for this is tenuous as historically what we’ve seen is the opposite) and we lean to being a working class sport.

          There could be an argument that the NRL needs to look at replacing rugby which could mean a disenfranchisement of the existing supporter base?

          But then I do see lots of holes in Salt’s forecast as there is an assumption of infrastructure and planned city migration that Australia has not been great at to date, and given his other thing was we are rubbish at innovation tough to see what the catalyst is to change.

          • August 16th 2017 @ 2:01pm
            mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

            Anyone see the irony in an approach to “we need to prepare for this fundamental demographic change and market disruption by relying on the historic levels of assimilation”

            • August 16th 2017 @ 2:27pm
              Ian Paterson said | August 16th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

              100% mate!

          • August 16th 2017 @ 2:22pm
            Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

            It’s Salt that calls himself a futurist, not a demographer (he has no formal training in demographics I believe. Check his website.

            Regarding trends in future population growth, the trend towards international migrants coming from non-Anglo backgrounds is particularly relevant to capital city markets more-so than regional centers, as has been the case to this point. I’d expect a significantly lower percentage of growth in these regional cities will come from international sources and 6 of the 8 places I’ve mentioned for expansion/relocation fall into this category

            • August 16th 2017 @ 4:19pm
              mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

              So you are saying the founding partner of KPMG demographics in Australia has no connection to demographics and is not a demographer?

              Also back in the naughties before his avocado comment made him cool he told clients in many presentations I was a party to that he was a demographer. I recall something along the lines of “ I’m not here to talk economics I’m here to talk demographics”

              • August 16th 2017 @ 4:28pm
                bbt said | August 16th 2017 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

                I have read his “projections” in the Australian for many years now. He may be good at reading the statistics but he is not much chop at interpreting them. Also, tinging his “projections’ with his conservative political bent makes his deductions rubbery.

              • August 16th 2017 @ 4:44pm
                mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                Yep his projections always have some assumptions that are either plain wrong or he then argues against in the next breath.

                But he was always worth the money as a speaker, he’s polished and because he’s, to borrow the wedding crasher’s line, hopefully only 50% full of it you get healthy debate amongst the crowd afterwards.

                I think he “predicted” a sydney housing sell off and migration that should have occured by now?

              • August 16th 2017 @ 5:03pm
                Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                Mushi, I’m saying in the presentation I sat in on recently he made a point of saying he is not a formally trained demographer and called himself a ‘futurist’. Nothing more, nothing less. This is confirmed on his website. It’s up to you how you pulled out that he ‘Has no connection with demographics’ from what I said.

                It’s unfortunate that you’re getting hung up on who Bernard Salt is from this. It’s not something I have much interest in debating. And as just mentioned in reply to another one of your posts, the projections that I’ve listed throughout the article, while not being a statement of fact, are a widely accepted estimated guess of where we’re heading. And when looking ahead to establish a vision and plan a pathway towards that, this is a good place to start in creating that picture for the future.

              • August 16th 2017 @ 6:08pm
                Mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

                I made a point in brackets and you responded, I pulled factual information to counter?

                If you didn’t want it to be a big deal why lead off with defending him as a futurist? Your faux outrage is disingenuous and belies your tenuous position.

                Because I’m sure he’s had no formal training in futurism either…

                He has held himself out to be a demographer in the past ie the founding partner of the demographics you’re just ignoring that to suit your own purposes

              • August 16th 2017 @ 6:40pm
                Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

                I responded to explain why I called him a futurist in the first place. I pulled factual information too eg. check his website. I was pretty happy to park it there because anything more really is a tangent completely irrelevant to the article and what I enjoy engaging in spirited discussions with others on.

                But keep picking a fight that’s not there mushi. What do you perceive to be ‘my own purposes’ anyway? Because I really have no idea what Bernard Salt proclaims himself to be has to do with it.

                I’ll readily admit to you and anyone else that cares mushi, Bernard Salt knows demographics like Jarryd Hayne knows how to get a coach sacked. I haven’t thought or expressed a point of view that suggests otherwise.

              • August 17th 2017 @ 6:11am
                Mushi said | August 17th 2017 @ 6:11am | ! Report

                BS if you were happy to park it there you would have but you decided to keep it going and then do the passive aggressive last word whilst claiming to be backing away.

                Am I picking a fight? Yeah in a crudely termed way yes probably. But you chose the topic in your response so your faux innocent by stander routine is a bit trite.

                I find the article akin to the preppy in the bar in good will hunting.

                You’ve taken the last eloquently presented view and extrapolating it out like it is a scientific law.

                And you’ve defended each point you feel you can score on like a rabid dog.

                Things like defending the intellectual dishonesty of passing of estimates with really high error rates as fact?

                I’ve seen wide variance in assumptions, I’ve also seen scientific think tanks suggesting we are overestimating global population growth as we are discounting military conflict and bacterial threats.

                I’ve seen economists question the assumption that we will expand our infrastructure sufficiently to retain the attractive quality of life whilst the suddenly wealthy nations will not do the same.

                Hence I don’t trust someone who passes off salt’s presentation as fact.

              • August 17th 2017 @ 6:23am
                Mushi said | August 17th 2017 @ 6:23am | ! Report

                But good news for you I’m off travelling for work so you’ll be able to peddle your shtick unencumbered

              • Roar Guru

                August 17th 2017 @ 6:34am
                The Barry said | August 17th 2017 @ 6:34am | ! Report

                Boom! Safe travels mushi!

              • August 17th 2017 @ 6:55am
                Rob9 said | August 17th 2017 @ 6:55am | ! Report

                Haaaa ‘defending each point like a rabid dog’. It’s called (at least in most replies bar yours), explaining myself further and engaging in spirited debate. That’s why I wrote the article and it’s kind of what this site is all about. I know that might seem like news to you.

                The faux here mushi is your insistence that I’ve framed the quoted projections as fact. I replied to one of your posts further along this thread. Read it. I’ve never once claimed or passed off these projections (which by way aren’t even really Salt’s in the first place) as fact. They’re not. Point to me where I have suggested you can bet your house on these coming to fruition?

            • August 16th 2017 @ 4:33pm
              mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

              On the pattern of expansion again you are assuming that what will happen (over a 33 year period mind you) is we have the orderly establishment of new regional centres from displaced nationals?

              It’s not simple organic growth you are predicting (or latching onto part of Salt’s predictions) it is a disruptive step change in the economics and infrastructure of regional cities. i.e. something that is unpredictable (hence the unreasonableness of a “plan” to capture it).

              Also if you look at those kind of changes historically (for this you need to look globally because our history just isn’t deep enough to find it) it has been migrants that have led to that.

              Even under the people pushed out theory there are holes.

              Under Salt’s predictions they will all be a bunch of 70 year olds, and given only the rich will be having 2+ kids (typically rich aren’t the displaced) what does moving teams to accommodate people that already have teams?

              I would have thought the flashing red light is that if media consumption continues on the same trend of diminishing relevance of geographic proximity that it doesn’t matter where any of the teams are. Tribalism will be coalesce something less regional specific and that the league needs to monitor that for survival.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 10:05am
        Chui said | August 16th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Your comment about the interest from migrants is spot on.

        There is very little interest from people new to Australia that have not been exposed to the game.

        However, you can be certain their kids will have an AFL development officer come along sooner or later and try to put a Sherrin in their hands.

        Touch football and Oztag are probably a better way of introducing it for grass roots growth.

        • August 16th 2017 @ 10:20am
          Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          Go to a Bulldogs game at ANZ. Their supporter base is a melting pot. Great for the game! Sure, plenty faces in the crowd may be second or third generation Australian’s but from the accents/languages you hear, it’s clear that there are also plenty who were born overseas coming to these games and immersing themselves in an Australian cultural ritual – going to the footy.

          In any event, the sort of migration that has and will occur in places like Cairns, Rockhampton and the Sunshine Coast is a completely different beast to the migration that’s occurred in Sydney over time. Apples and oranges.

          • August 16th 2017 @ 6:25pm
            Chui said | August 16th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

            My comment was about NEW migrants, not third generation. Apples and oranges?

            • August 16th 2017 @ 10:42pm
              Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 10:42pm | ! Report

              I can see that. But I think you’ll find that while that is a strong trend when looking at the overall growth of Australia, it’s presence as a trend is diminished when looking at the growth of regional centres. Non-Anglo international migration predominantly occurs in the capital cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne who take up the bulk of Australia’s overseas immigrants. New teams in Sydney and Melbourne isn’t being suggested.

              • August 17th 2017 @ 6:36am
                Mushi said | August 17th 2017 @ 6:36am | ! Report

                But the entire premise of your article is population growth into these regional cities will make them relevant. But that population growth is forecast to come from immigration offsetting below replacement birth rates

                Your explanation that it will be anglos doesn’t make sense unless we also are forecasting magical Anglo growing mushrooms in regional centres

              • August 17th 2017 @ 7:12am
                Rob9 said | August 17th 2017 @ 7:12am | ! Report

                If you truly think that the population growth (in terms of where it’s being drawn from) in places like Rockhampton will be akin to the sort of growth experienced in a place like Sydney, I can’t help you.

                It will come from people not being able to afford housing in the big cities. Ever heard of that phenomenon before? It will come from people looking for a slower pace of life as cities overflow. This isn’t just the oldies, it’s also young families and it’s happening now. It will come from governments investing in these areas. Incentivising people and businesses to move to these places. Moving their own services also to further push jobs growth. It will come from new infrastructure projects. Ever heard of the Federal Government’s Northern Australia initiative? It’s a real thing. Take a look at ‘Our North, Our Future’ – the governments first white paper on developing this region and unlocking its potential.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 16th 2017 @ 9:43am
      steveng said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      Todd Greenburg and the NRL mob have no idea, these blokes have a stable job and innovation and future plans are the furthest from their brains. If the NRL continues in their current path they will miss the boat (if they haven’t already) and the ALP and Soccer will fill in the gaps where RL could have and would have. Have a look at the crowds that the AFL attract in Sydney, which is treble to quadruple to what the NRL are attracting (on the same weekends eg the SCG) and it will continue that way. Last Sunday’s game at Leichhardt oval was a classic example of what could be and can be achieved if things change and the NRL administrators had vision and would be doing their job(s).

      • Roar Rookie

        August 16th 2017 @ 9:50am
        steveng said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Sorry that should have been ‘and the AFL’ not the ALP which would be a bigger disaster lol

      • August 16th 2017 @ 12:37pm
        Nick Symonds said | August 16th 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

        “Have a look at the crowds that the AFL attract in Sydney, which is treble to quadruple to what the NRL are attracting (on the same weekends eg the SCG) and it will continue that way. Last Sunday’s game at Leichhardt oval was a classic example of what could be and can be achieved if things change and the NRL administrators had vision and would be doing their job(s). ”

        Only 12,208-14,128 people showed up in Australia’s largest city to watch two teams in a city which has 9.

        Just too many teams in Sydney.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 5:02pm
        mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

        But steve if it is a number of teams thing.. . why does that same AFL league do just fine with truckloads of Melbourne teams

        • August 16th 2017 @ 8:26pm
          Agent11 said | August 16th 2017 @ 8:26pm | ! Report

          I don’t believe the AFL does fine, but it has more that enough money to support the struggling melbourne clubs (north melbourne, st kilda?)

      • Roar Guru

        August 17th 2017 @ 11:28am
        Sleiman Azizi said | August 17th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

        The NRL’s great innovation was the Bunker.

        (rolls eyes)

    • August 16th 2017 @ 9:46am
      Andrew said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      How about a plan for 2030 before worrying about 2050?

      In 1984 do you think anyone was thinking we would be watching games on our phones? Would concussion have been a topic? Who knew we would be paying players a million dollars a season in 1984?

      Yes the NRL obviously needs strategic plans and goals etc, But nobody has any idea what technology will be out there; what trends in society will have evolved; what limitations our environment will place on us; what the economy will look like. So why would you plan for a time where we have next to no idea what it will look like.
      Plan for 2030 (or thereabouts), monitor the path and evolve a plan from there.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 10:06am
        Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

        Andrew, the date is a side note. By all means have a 2030 plan. But also have a 2022 plan, a 2040 plan and yes, a 2050 plan. The dynamic landscape in which the game operates and all the shifting variables at play is acknowledged in the article. Their existence doesn’t give the game an excuse for not having a vision for 30 years down the track. And as things continue to change and elements that were previously unheard of become something that requires attention, of course these plans and visions at each stage can be amended. A long term plan is a living document that is by no means set in stone. I simply can’t see the logic in not having that blueprint for 30 years in the future. There’s enough there including the work that demographers do to start to plan for how the game ‘might’ look that far ahead in the future.

        • August 16th 2017 @ 12:50pm
          mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          I think the issue is that you’re using vision and plan interchangably.

          A plan/blue print is something you follow and execute, it has goals, processes and defined objectives. You can’t plan for 2050.

          A vision is somehting that over arches the 5&10 year plans ensuring that when you do plan it is consitent with more abstract concepts which survive a changing market place.

          • August 16th 2017 @ 1:13pm
            Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

            I’m well aware they’re 2 different things and I don’t really think I’m using them interchangeably. Hence referring to them both in the same sentence above.

            I recognise the NRL needs both. A vision and a plan to achieve said vision. And of course you can plan to work towards a vision that extends decades into the future. Without that plan, what’s the point of having a 30, 40, 50 year vision? Something countless organisations in business and sport have. And as mentioned, plans can can be flexible and updated to keep up with the changing landscape and variables. They do this even when working towards visions set over smaller time frames such as 10 and 15 years. If they didn’t, no vision no matter how close or far would be achieved- such is the dynamic space in which we all live.

            • August 16th 2017 @ 1:56pm
              mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

              And I disagree about you not using them interchangeably, hence I said you’re using them interchangeably.

              Even above you can’t have a 30 year plan that has any credibility so either you’re just duplicating the abstract nature of the vision or you’re wasting time. The vision has to extend beyond the plan otherwise your vision is short sighted.

              If you’ve got a 2050 “plan” for a media organisation that is a complete waste of resources.

              There is just no way demographers are going to give you anything approximating the consumption of 2050 economy to lay what is really a blue print or plan.

        • August 16th 2017 @ 1:29pm
          mushi said | August 16th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

          If it’s “they need a vision to position for the popualtion growth” I’m with you, if it’s we need a plan, that to me seems far fetched

          • August 16th 2017 @ 2:05pm
            Rob9 said | August 16th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

            It’s, they need a vision that fits the likely landscape in which the NRL will operate in 2050. They need a plan for this vision in 2050 to be realised. This plan can be (and will need to be) adapted as time goes on and variables that aren’t yet thought of appear e.g. technology advancements, variations in demographic trends etc.

    • August 16th 2017 @ 9:58am
      Fred said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      the Tigers are going nowhere.

      If there IS a problem with having too many clubs in Sydney (and I’m not convinced there is – Sydney is Australia’s biggest city, its global city, its media centre, its finance centre and there is so much rugby league history there, it’s the heart and soul of the game)

      But I repeat, IF having too many clubs in Sydney is a problem, the problem lies in having too many of those clubs in non-league areas of Sydney. The Tigers, Panthers, Eels and Bulldogs are in league areas that also collectively represent the majority of Sydney’s population. The Roosters, Souths, Manly etc are based in rich trendy areas where people are more concerned with scarves and kale, where sport (unless it’s something exotic and non-contact) is something those bogans out west do.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 10:38am
        no one in particular said | August 16th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        100% agree

      • August 16th 2017 @ 12:36pm
        clipper said | August 16th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        Good point, Fred. A lot has changed demographically in those areas and, as you say, they are now rich trendy areas where they were former working class suburbs. Of course Balmain is another such suburb.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 12:44pm
        Agent11 said | August 16th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        I don’t get why the Tigers get picked on. They are one of the most supported clubs despite them being a basket case for most of their existence. They have a strong junior nursery.
        Now I’m not saying they should relocate but the Roosters have less of a claim to stay in the Sydney market than the Tigers but no one ever suggests the Roosters cause they are a well run club and attract sponsors etc. But they represent an area that is barely even sports demographic, let alone League.

        • August 16th 2017 @ 4:08pm
          no one in particular said | August 16th 2017 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

          “I don’t get why the Tigers get picked on”

          because the chairwoman totally embarrassed Rothfield in a crowded room, so Rothfield has it in for them. And then people blindly follow the News Ltd headlines

          • Roar Guru

            August 17th 2017 @ 11:32am
            Sleiman Azizi said | August 17th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

            The Tigers are fine.

            They’ll settle themselves down in the south-west of Sydney and do good things soon.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 5:26pm
        Wascally Wabbit said | August 16th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

        Fred, Souths may be based in Redfern/Maroubra, but thousands of supporters are all over Sydney, including ” bogan” areas. I live on the border of Bulldogs/Dragons territory. Is that bogan ?

        • August 16th 2017 @ 9:17pm
          Fred said | August 16th 2017 @ 9:17pm | ! Report


          Two things – my ‘bogan’ comment was criticising the inner city trendies and their attitudes about working class people from the suburbs, not the other way round! (if that wasn’t clear)

          Second – I am well aware a lot of Roosters and Souths fans are from outside the ‘traditional’ area – that’s my whole point. It makes them far more suitable for relocation than Tigers, Panthers etc. Though I don’t really believe any teams should be relocated. Just sick of talk of the Tigers being shifted from Sydney when they have a far bigger Sydney fan base than teams like the Roosters.