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Opinion

Who is the most powerful NRL club? Part 6, the winner is...

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Roar Guru
5th July, 2020
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This is the final part of my six-part series as to who is the most powerful club in the NRL.

One metric I used was their membership numbers from 2019 and 2020 and divided by two to get the average. This was done due to the impact that COVID-19 has contributed to fans not committing financially to their club this year.

Other factors I’ve considered are media coverage, both print and electronic, how many prime-time TV games they are given, average crowd figures (2019 home-and-away figure), sponsorship and licensed-club backing.

Their standing in the game and other non-tangible factors such as the influence they have within NRL HQ is a subjective measurement and while my opinion won’t be universally accepted, it is nonetheless my opinion.

I have combined the average member count for 2019 and 2020 and added that to their 2019 crowd figure to give each team an index number. This number is not absolute in determining the most powerful club.

For premierships won, I have included the Broncos’ and Knights’ victories in 1997 as well as the joint-venture teams’ titles won as single entities before they merged. This figure is interesting but didn’t have much influence in my final decision as the Wests Tigers are listed as having 16 titles but that figure is made up of the Balmain Tigers, Western Suburbs Magpies and Wests Tigers.

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Now it’s time to reveal the most powerful club in the competition.

1. Broncos
Premierships – six
Members – 30,768
Crowds – 23,550
Index total – 54,318
The Brisbane Broncos are without doubt the most powerful club in Australian rugby league.

Having won six premierships under Wayne Bennett, the Broncos set a standard both on and off the field none have matched.

Payne Haas of the Broncos

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Privately owned from day one and now majority owned by News Limited, this may explain why they have been dominant in TV programming of the game of the round and the pages upon pages devoted to them in newspapers.

It also helped that they were an outstanding team in a one-team town until the Crushers came and went.

The leagues club at Red Hill is brimming with artifacts collected after the on-field success the team enjoyed. And the multi-million-dollar training ground is the envy of all other professional teams, of any sport, in Australia.

While Sydney likes to think they are the heartland of the game, that title must belong to Brisbane, where they do not have a fractured supporter base supporting other teams in the town, because they are the only show in town.

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The rivers of gold that flow down the Broncos’ stream means that Rugby League HQ must treat them accordingly.