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A fresh NRL expansion proposal

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Roar Guru
8th May, 2019
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Yes, it’s another article about NRL expansion – but don’t hit the panic button just yet.

The latest idea comes courtesy of Stephen Williams, who’s involved in USA Rugby League. He tweeted his own idea for NRL exapnsion, which moves a little away from where the debate currently sits by dividing the competition into two conferences, Provan and Summons:

Provan Conference Summons Conference
Brisbane Broncos Newcastle Knights
Gold Coast Titans Canberra Raiders
North Queensland Cowboys Melbourne Storm
A second Brisbane team Canterbury Bulldogs
St George Illawarra Dragons Cronulla Sharks
Sydney Roosters Manly Sea Eagles
South Sydney Rabbitohs Parramatta Eels
New Zealand Warriors Wests Tigers
A second New Zealand team Penrith Panthers
A new Perth team

There are 19 teams in total, but the format of the finals – whether it’s still a top eight or becomes a top 12 – is undecided.

Teams would play each of their conference rivals twice and each team from the opposite conference once, totalling 25 home-and-away matches.

As for the finals, weeks one to three will be conference finals and Week 5 will be the grand final between the winners of each conference. It will be rather like the NFL, with the AFC and NFC conference winners facing off in the Super Bowl.


From what I can see, there are three potential opinions with the fans of the NRL. Some will like it, some won’t be keen on it and some simply won’t care, but it sounds awesome and I find it refreshing. What I like about the conference system is that it keeps some old and new rivalries alive. Souths vs Easts, the Queensland derby and a potential new rivalry with two New Zealand teams. The Newcastle Knights vs Manly Sea Eagles rivalry will stay alive, as will the relatively fresh Melbourne vs Cronulla grudge.

I hope this truly goes ahead, but I can guarantee not everyone will agree with me – and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a fresh look that many have been hoping for. Not only does it look different, but it’s giving the game some expansion, and I know many have been calling for it.

I’ve said my bit, so now you say yours. In doing so, I’ll ask you a few questions:

  1. Do you like this new idea? Why or why not?
  2. How do you think the conference finals will play out?
  3. Will the NRL be under one sole ladder or two conference ladders?
  4. Will this affect State of Origin and if so, how?
  5. Which conference will your team be in?