NRL to make small steps into Perth

By Scott Bailey, Scott Bailey is a Roar Guru

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26 Have your say

    NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has vowed to try and strike while the iron is hot in Perth following the closure of Super Rugby’s Western Force.

    But it won’t come in the form of a rushed together NRL team.

    Perth is seen as a likely destination of the league’s next expansion team, following the collapse of the Western Reds in 1997 as a result of the Super League war.

    However any expansion of the current 16-team competition is not expected until at least the next television rights deal in 2022, for when additional Queensland teams, a second New Zealand side and even a Pacific franchise are also considered likely options.

    But Greenberg said the game would look to make small moves into the state given the lack of either rugby code in the city as of next season.

    “You won’t see us just landing a new NRL team there because of what’s happened to the Force but what you will see is us looking strategically at Perth to play games,” Greenberg told Triple M.

    “Next year you can expect us to look very closely at what we can do in Perth for new opportunities also what we can do to continue our junior development programs and grass roots as well.

    “But it’s not as simple as just picking up a club and moving it in there in the short term. It takes a lot more effort and a significant investment to make it work”

    Two games per season have been taken to Perth in recent years, a figure that could be increased next year.

    Australia hosted New Zealand in a Test match at nib Stadium last October and a World Cup rugby league double header will be played in the city in November before the new Perth Stadium hosts a State of Origin game in 2019.

    There are 3,600 registered rugby league players in Western Australia and last year five of the West Coast Pirate’s SG Ball juniors debuted in the NRL’s under-20s competition in round one.

    They have also lost a number of promising juniors – including Force players Curtis Rona and Chance Peni – to the 15-man game as an easier path to professional sport arrived.

    However NRLWA chief executive, John Sackon, predicted to AAP earlier this year that the exclusion of the Force would give rugby league a free kick in the state if they wished to take it.

    “The talented kids out of the rugby codes want to pursue a career,” Sackson said in May.

    “That option now exists with the Force, and it could come back the other way.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • August 16th 2017 @ 10:27am
      DAYER said | August 16th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

      IMO, Perth is too far, just put a team in Brisbane/Ipswich and in Wellington NZL. 18 teams for 2019 season start.

      NRL has no vision at all for expansion, all they want to do is save the Sydney Clubs. blah blah blah..
      sick of it.

      • August 16th 2017 @ 4:47pm
        Warugby said | August 16th 2017 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

        Wellington? Sort the Warriors out first.

    • August 16th 2017 @ 11:02am
      Your kidding said | August 16th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      Greenberg is full of it. His interviews are all about telling people what they want to hear not the reality. Don’t believe the spin.
      If the NRL really wanted to and thought they were able to expand they would of done it years ago. Looking ahead towards 2022 the game would want to be in a lot stronger position than it is now if that is to be the year of expansion.
      Sydney is a problem and most of the clubs are cash strapped. Ratings and crowds are in decline. Is that about to suddenly change and the next media rights deal be worth a lot more? Hope so, because they are going to need a massive bank balance to fund expansion.
      The heartland has to be secure 1st and Greenberg knows it.

    • August 16th 2017 @ 11:02am
      Millsy said | August 16th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      Too far how do you work that out 4.5 hour flight one way
      Fly in fly out do more kilometres for a living and many came from east looking for work.We’re part of Australia you know put the national in the NRL and think forward for a change. ?

    • August 16th 2017 @ 11:03am
      Cugel said | August 16th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

      The Steelers, Reds, Rams, Crushers, Chargers & Mariners all agree expansion works.

      • Roar Guru

        August 16th 2017 @ 2:56pm
        BigJ said | August 16th 2017 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

        Blame the Super League war for that and the Chargers dont count as they are now the Titans.

        • August 16th 2017 @ 4:36pm
          Beavis said | August 16th 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

          Wasn’t there GC before the charges. Bert Kelly looking at buying the Titans said that the 16 NRL clubs lost $56m last year after the early bringing forward of TV money. Perth would have to be heavily subsidized and getting players to move there would be a problem. Let it go

        • August 16th 2017 @ 7:11pm
          Josh said | August 16th 2017 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

          Was gonna say near enough the same thing. Pretty convenient to forget how much NQ, the Warriors, Melbourne and even Brissy agree on expansion.

    • August 16th 2017 @ 4:52pm
      GD66 said | August 16th 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

      The xenophobic, AFL-obsessed Perth media initially gave the Western Reds a cautious foot in the door, but off-field shenanigans by Geyer, O’Neill and co, an ordinary coach and roster and minimal success slammed the door shut. The only successful code transplant I’ve seen has been the Sydney Swans, with a star-studded squad and a high-profile coach, Barassi. To try league again in Perth would require something similar, and most top-level players and indeed a genuinely topline coach would be reluctant to move so far afield.
      The Reds coach was Peter Mulholland, who hasn’t had a first-grade job before or since ( also Dean Lance towards the end), and the squad included no current stars : more like several players cashing up at the end of their careers. Honestly, unless it’s a genuine high-dollar, high-profile invasion you would probably do more harm than good : better off sticking with a couple of games a season. The NRL are asleep at the wheel anyway, with the anticipated closure of the Force being widely broadcast all season they should have been primed to make a big step and announcement of their intentions the very next day. Instead there’s eventually been a vague expression of possible intent.
      The NRL gave false hope of a WA team a couple of years back, and a bunch of enthusiastic WARL fans quickly formulated a concept squad and a name but the idea went cold just as quickly, and I can’t see it ever improving unless any new side is jammed with stars and has immediate success.

    • August 16th 2017 @ 6:56pm
      Justin Kearney said | August 16th 2017 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

      A perth nrl team is a no brainer. Unfortunately the nrl leadership has no vision. They are gutless.

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