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Adam Hayward

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Joined October 2017

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Columnist and content creator for thesportingpost.com. Follow me on Twitter: @Hayward_AdamK and @sportingpostau

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Expert ladder predictions are offensive

Now that the storylines have been written, player recruits and transfers have been finalised, the pre-season trials are done and the banter has commenced, experts are publishing their ladder predictions for the 2020 season all over the interweb which has caused much debate, on-line blow-ups and in some cases offence.

It’s just what I read. They’re adding gold to differentiate from the Dragons, which is their own decision they’ve made out of respect.

Moreton Bay takes Dolphins fight to NRL

Red and white. Same team colours. Especially when the Dragons wear their Steelers alternative. Bit of gold to differentiate is really no big deal

Moreton Bay takes Dolphins fight to NRL

Manchester United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, New Yankees… they aren’t just sporting clubs, they are global brands with supporters from all over the world. And what do they all have in common? A geographical identity of course. As big as these franchises are, they will always be proud to represent their core group of local (home) supporters and would never take away their sense of ownership of their team. The Dolphins go against this logic in their attempt to “not alienate” anyone by alienating everyone, especially their local fans in Redcliffe/Moreton Bay. If they want to be a ‘national brand’, fine. But you achieve that through community engagement, taking home games to Suncorp, Sunshine Coast, Central Qld and other parts of the country and most importantly, on-field success. Moreton Bay Dolphins is fine. Start from there and build your brand.

Moreton Bay takes Dolphins fight to NRL

The gold is to differ them from the Dragons I believe

Moreton Bay takes Dolphins fight to NRL

Sign the petition for ‘The Dolphins’ to include a geographical name eg Moreton Bay Dolphins, North Brisbane Dolphins, Redcliffe Dolphins etc as part of it’s identity, and to give their core group of supporters in the Moreton Bay and Greater Brisbane regions a sense of ownership, pride, belonging and Peter V’landy’s favourite word, “tribalism”…
https://chng.it/FZDfK9b9

Moreton Bay takes Dolphins fight to NRL

I see only one path back to the NRL for the Bears and that’s to attempt to merge with Manly again, but learn from past mistakes with the Northern Eagles and manage it right. Brad Fittler suggested it a year or 2 ago. The Penn family could use the extra financial help. Manly need to expand and grow their brand beyond the northern beaches and they could use the Bears to grow their catchment to include the North Shore, North Sydney and the Central Coast. Bring in new fans, 2000+ current Bears members, inherit the Bears junior nursery, new corporate opportunities, use the Bears as their local feeder club after their deal with the Roosters expires. Manly shouldn’t give up too much though, stay at Brookvale and keep the team colours but I’d call the team North Sydney Sea Eagles to be inclusive of the Bears catchment. Give up 1 seat on the board for Florimo. Essentially Manly would run the club but this time with conditions to protect the Bears best interest. For the Bears, they get “North Sydney” in the name, brand recognition in the top grade, direct pathways to the NRL for their juniors and financial benefits from corporate partnerships, sponsorships, memberships and ticket sales. Maybe play 1 home game at North Sydney Oval. It might sound stupid, but the reason why the merger didn’t work before was poor management and the tribalism and hatred between both clubs at the time, which simply isn’t there anymore unless you’re from an older generation, but its not about the past, it would be about the future. Any league fan born after the mid-90s wouldn’t know anything about the Bears-Manly rivalry, its a thing of the past. It would be easy to say mergers don’t work, but the Tigers and Dragons are still going after 20 years despite their struggles. The St George Dragons, Illawarra Steelers, Western Suburbs Magpies and Balmain Tigers are all still a part of top flight rugby league, but the North Sydney Bears aren’t? A “North Sydney Sea Eagles” merged club would have the biggest catchment in Sydney with a combined population of 1.2 million people (North Sydney, North Shore, Central Coast, Northern Beaches).

Heritage vs Expansion: Full time for the Bears or one final chance?

For Central Coast to ever get an NRL team, it can only be the Bears. The Central Coast, although having a decent population, a solid junior base and a nice stadium to watch rugby league, they’re not a growth region and wouldn’t add much value to the Bears or the NRL commercially. But the reason the Bears can succeed based on the CC is because they would be able to tap into the large market in North Sydney, which would still be part of their catchment area. Then relocate Manly to Perth and the Bears can consume their catchment area too!

Heritage vs Expansion: Full time for the Bears or one final chance?

According the Andrew Abdo, they’ll only be known as “The Dolphins”

Dolphins in, Redcliffe out and Wayne Bennett to coach

Artie Beetson started the Western Corridor bid

Dolphins in, Redcliffe out and Wayne Bennett to coach

Not having a geographical name of the catchment area which the club represents is mind boggling. It’s how supporters, especially local supporters, identify with a club. Hopefully the NRL and the Dolphins realise the absurdity of it, listen to the fans and call the club the “Moreton Bay Dolphins”.

Dolphins in, Redcliffe out and Wayne Bennett to coach

I see only one path back to the NRL for the Bears and that’s to attempt to merge with Manly again, but learn from past mistakes with the Northern Eagles and manage it right. Fittler suggested it a year or 2 ago. Manly would have folded without the Penn family. They need to expand and grow their brand beyond the northern beaches and they could use the Bears to grow their catchment to include the North Shore, North Sydney and the Central Coast. Bring in new fans, 2000+ current Bears members, inherit the Bears junior nursery, new corporate opportunities, use the Bears as their local feeder club after their deal with the Roosters expires. Manly shouldn’t give up too much though, stay at Brookvale and keep the team colours but I’d call the team North Sydney Sea Eagles to be inclusive of the Bears catchment. Give up 1 seat on the board for Florimo. Essentially Manly would run the club but with conditions to protect the Bears best interest. For the Bears, they get “North Sydney” in the name, brand recognition in the top grade, direct pathways to the NRL for their juniors and financial benefits from corporate partnerships, sponsorships, memberships and ticket sales. Maybe play 1 home game at North Sydney Oval. It might sound stupid, but the reason why the merger didn’t work before was poor management and the tribalism and hatred between both clubs, which simply isn’t there anymore unless you’re from an older generation, but its not about the past, it would be about the future. Any league fan born after the mid-90s wouldn’t know anything about the Bears-Manly rivalry, its a thing of the past. It would be easy to say mergers don’t work, but the Tigers and Dragons are still going after 20 years despite their struggles. The St George Dragons, Illawarra Steelers, Western Suburbs Magpies and Balmain Tigers are all still a part of top flight rugby league, but the North Sydney Bears aren’t? A “North Sydney Sea Eagles” merged club would have the biggest catchment in Sydney with a combined population of 1.2 million people (North Sydney, North Shore, Central Coast, Northern Beaches).

The NRL is expanding. Is there a place for the Bears?

This had me entertained from start to finish. I think there is a stark reality which fans need to accept… this new version of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Rugby League club, ain’t the ‘silvertails’ anymore.

Alarming decline in Manly hatred under investigation

There were indeed 2 grand finals in 1997 and I think many would be in complete denial that the 1997 Broncos side would have dominated the 1997 Knights team. I’m no Broncos fan, and although the Knights ’97 grand final win will go in in rugby league folklore, the Broncos are the real champs of ’97, IMO. They won the world club challenge tournament as well.

Back to Brisbane after 24 years, and the grand final that still causes arguments to rage

They’re definitely not the Silvertails anymore. I was raised, as was everyone else born outside of the Northern Beaches, to hate Manly, and I did with a passion. But I love watching this current Sea Eagles side… pure entertainment. I’m in awe of what Turbo has done this season. And there a way too many humble, nice guys in that team.

Manly are the 'People's Team'? You'd better believe it!

And Elias wanted to buy the club a couple of months back…

Sixteen years of travesty: Wests Tigers and the miracle premiership that solved nothing

If there was ever an argument for relocating Sydney clubs, the Tigers are it. Send them to Perth or Adelaide and the Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Panthers and Parra can consume their geographical areas. Problem solved!

Sixteen years of travesty: Wests Tigers and the miracle premiership that solved nothing

Juniors aside, like I said, the Firehawks brand is very unappealing. 400,000 combined population of the Western Corridor (expected to almost double by 2031) want their own local team. They’re league heartland and I don’t see how the south-east suburbs based Firehawks can sell their brand to them. Out of the 3 bid teams, they are a distant 3rd as far as preference and popularity is concerned. Jets and Dolphin will already have a rusted on fan base and would flock to Suncorp in the thousands, thats if Dolphins fans are willing to make the trip from Moreton Bay, but they would definitely sell out their stadium every 2nd weekend, as would Jets fans at North Ipswich Reserve. Not convinced the same will occur for the Firehawks. But who knows, maybe 2000-3000 Easts Tigers fans from Stones Corner and Coorparoo will fill the first couple of rows at Suncorp. I do admit I am anti-Firehawk, I am biased towards the Jets bid, but will also support the Dolphins bid if the Jets are no chance because of finances, which is likely the case.

'Horrible' state of grassroots league means only one club makes sense for NRL expansion

Oh FFS.

Ipswich is closer for thousands of Ipswich juniors. Ipswich is closer for Toowoomba juniors. Toowoomba and surrounding districts have 12 clubs. Even Warwick has over 1000 juniors which Ipswich is much closer than Coorparoo or GC. Firehawks are detrimental to pathways for Ipswich and especially Toowoomba.

And the other part of your argument/outrage is entirely based on Logan being part of the Jets catchment area… Firehawks and Dolphins would share the Broncos juniors so why the offence taken if the Jets sharing Logan with the Broncos? Whats wrong with that? Sure Logan central to Coorparoo is only a 29 minute drive compared to Logan Central to North Ipswich Reserve being a 33 minute drive, that’s a valuable 4 minutes that can be used for other things right?

And those 13-15 year old school kids and their parents won’t have to leave Ipswich as the Jets pathways will start in schools. Toowoomba kids will have a direct pathway through the reinstated Clydesdales and won’t have to move 2 hours to Brisbane, only an hour to Ipswich if they secure an NRL contract. Or the NRL can happily allow the AFL and the Brisbane Lions take over Ipswich schools which is already happening. And lets face it, the Firehawks branding is terrible. Kids won’t have any connection (rugby league supporters definitely won’t) with the club as they would with a home team of their own. Firehawks can say they want to tap into Ipswich, but more kids will continue being lost to the game, and again, especially in Toowoomba 👎

'Horrible' state of grassroots league means only one club makes sense for NRL expansion

Not sure why people make a big deal out of the geographical alignment of the “western corridor”. They’re two neighbouring regions linked by the Centenary Highway. The “alignment” Logan and Ipswich may have with each other is they don’t consider themselves from Brisbane and don’t feel represented by the Broncos.

The Jets bid will reinstate the Toowoomba Clydesdale’s as their feeder club, giving Toowoomba juniors a direct pathway to the NRL, which is why they’re included in the Jets catchment area.

And its an apples and oranges comparison suggesting people travel from Ipswich to Brisbane for work. We’re talking about the 16-17 year old juniors who need a pathway to NRL, most whom still are still in school and live at home with their parents. Do you expect them to leave home at that age for a shot at playing for the Firehawks? Do you expect their parents to pack and leave Ipswich or Toowoomba so their 16-17 year old can take up a spot on the roster at Easts Tigers?

We’re talking about juniors needing to make the move. Not doctors with cars cruising up the Ipswich Motorway to go to work.

'Horrible' state of grassroots league means only one club makes sense for NRL expansion

A part of the Jets bid is to reinstate the Toowoomba Clydesdales to the Queensland cup as one of their feeder clubs. Not sure if Toowoomba people will feel the “Brisbane” Jets will represent them, but they will be part of the Jets catchment area as a direct pathway to the NRL for their juniors.

'Horrible' state of grassroots league means only one club makes sense for NRL expansion

Keyword being “direct”… so you’ve made your arguement for LOGAN (not sure why you’re shouting), but what about Ipswich and Toowoomba? Thousand and thousands of registered players/juniors, do you think one link through Souths Logan to the Broncos is enough? Come on, lad.

'Horrible' state of grassroots league means only one club makes sense for NRL expansion

The Jets would be Queensland’s equivalent to the Panthers. 19,000 registered players compared to 16,000 in Brisbane and around 3000-4000 in the Moreton Bay area which the Dolphins represent. The difference between Western Sydney and Western Brisbane is all those juniors in Western Sydney have direct pathways to the NRL.
Ipswich, Toowoomba and Logan don’t have those direct pathways, and many of those juniors are lost to the game. People say there’s not enough talent to expand, the problem isn’t that there’s not enough talent, the problem is there isn’t enough opportunities. Dolphins and Firehawks have the cash and have the business case to be successful, but for the betterment and growth of the game, the Jets have to be the expansion team in league heartland.
If the NRL ignore the Western Corridor, the AFL and Lions who are already expanding into the area will eventually convert a large number of those juniors. It’s naive to think it won’t happen.
The Firehawks think they’ll tap into those regions but lets face it, that would mean players would have to move out of the area to play for them, which many wouldn’t make the sacrifice even though they’re only an hour or so away and the Firehawks branding is terrible. People already mock the Firehawks name. The Jets and the Dolphins already have a huge rusted on fan base unlike the Firehawks. They won’t attract fans, they won’t convert fans and as a bid based in Broncos territory, they’re very unappealing, especially to rugby league fans in the regions surrounding Brisbane. There’s no connection whatsoever.
And they will absolutely cannabilise the Broncos. Sharing the juniors and the corporate dollars and surrounding league heartland regions will again be ignored. Splitting Brisbane into a north v south rivalry? There is no north v south rivalry in Brisbane. And do they think the Broncos will be content with only having the northside? The Crushers tried this in the late 90s and they tried to give themselves the northside and told the Broncos they can have the southside.
Dolphins have the rich league history on their side and probably the best business case, but they lack the juniors. And their region is a bit out of the way, especially if they plan to host matches at Suncorp. Thats worse than Manly fans having to cross the harbour bridge to get to games, people just won’t make the trip. Trains from Ipswich/Logan take you straight to Suncorp Stadium.

'Horrible' state of grassroots league means only one club makes sense for NRL expansion

If Justin Olam wasn’t a ball hog and passed to Addo-Carr in the finals second of their game against Penrith, they would have beaten them.

The Melbourne juggernaut can win the competition with their attack

I don’t have a house. I have a hut. Putting it on Melbourne.

Panthers beware: History shows that the front runners often fall short

Panthers will lose to the Storm in the GF again. Put your house on it!

Panthers beware: History shows that the front runners often fall short

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