Both Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns have made some incredible remarks over the weekend, offering up ways of ‘revolutionising’ the NRL.
NSW coach Freddy Fittler has suggested the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles should consider merging with the North Sydney Bears in order to form a ‘behemoth’ club.
The winning State of Origin coach expressed these opinions on the Wide World of Sport program over the weekend, with Joey Johns chiming in with a renewal call for a 12-team competition where ‘only the strong survive’.
Freddy believes the time is right for the two clubs to come together, as it would cover the region from the northern beaches up to the Central Coast.
Fittler said it would be crazy for the two teams not to make it work.
“Anywhere from the Harbour Bridge — take in the Central Coast — that would be such a powerful area and if they could come to some sense you could encapsulate Brookvale Oval, North Sydney Oval and Gosford and have a wonderful, strong club,” Fittler said.
“You’ve got the big business of North Sydney, you’ve got the Peninsula, then you’ve got the people of the Central Coast, the numbers, it would be nearly a behemoth of a club if it had the right administration and the right people behind it.
“Not only would it be good I think it’s a must for the NRL to look at and this is the time, the time is right now.”
Although, the two clubs have once tried the merger in 2002 with little success, not making the finals in the three years of the joint venture.
With Manly having somewhat of a disastrous season on and off the field, finishing 15th with seven wins, the timing might be right to give it another crack.
The proposed Fittler solution ties in with Joey’s comments of cutting four teams out of the competition and increasing the salary cap.
Johns first expressed these thoughts in early August, but later played down the idea, but now saying nine teams in Sydney is too many and they should explore the option of a second team in Brisbane.
“I’ve got a theory that whatever the salary cap is now, say it’s $9 million; put it up to $12 million and then only the strong survive,” Johns said.
“I’ve said publicly I think we should have a 12-team competition, there’s too many teams in Sydney.
“So if that’s the way you put it up then only the strong survive. The ones that are administered strong, the ones with strong sponsorship, the ones that develop well, and then we get down eventually to 12 teams.
“(The current competition structure) suits the Broncos because they’ve got all that corporate support — that’s why we need another team in Brisbane. We need a derby in the major cities.”