SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Commentator Andrew Johns looks on before the round two NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on March 21, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Rugby league legend Andrew Johns believes the NRL need to reduce the amount of teams in the competition rather than expand them, calling for just a 12-team league.

Speaking on Immortal Behaviour for Wide World of Sports in response to the recent call for expansion in the NRL, Johns went the other way on the issue, and believes there’s not enough talent to go around.

“I think it should be 12 teams,” Johns said.

“I know from a broadcaster’s (point-of-view) they wouldn’t be happy with that. But I just think there’s not enough talent going around, there’s too many teams in Sydney, nine teams in Sydney is too many, but how they cull them is going to be really difficult.”

Johns has singled out New South Wales’ nine teams as the place to cull clubs, with Brisbane and New Zealand needing another team in his eyes.

Johns believes Cronulla and the Wests Tigers are the most vulnerable clubs if the league do drop down to 12 teams, suggesting the other Sydney clubs are more financially stable.

“There needs to be another team in Brisbane and there needs to be another team in New Zealand, I don’t know about Perth but they need to relocate several teams – how they do it?

“I think they should put the salary cap right up and then it’s natural selection, only the strong survive. If you can’t compete or teams go broke because of bad management or administration then move them on.”

“The obvious one is the Sharks are in danger, there’s talk that they have $40 million coming in and that would make them safe. They’re under pressure, I think the Wests Tigers are under pressure.

“I think all the other clubs, I think the Bulldogs have got the backing of a leagues club, same as Parramatta, Souths have got a lot of backers, they made a profit last year; the Roosters are safe, Newcastle are safe so I’d say it’s the Sharks and the Tigers who are most vulnerable.”


  1. Absolute codswallop

    Johns is only right if every player has to be an Origin level player but they don’t

    This comp is crying out for expansion not contraction. No one ever shrank to greatness. This must be the worst so called expert view I have ever heard.

  2. 12 teams???
    Cowboys, Broncos, Warriors, Titans, Knights, Raiders, Storm.
    2nd Brisbane, 2nd New Zealand, Perth.
    That is 10 teams.

    Which 2 Sydney teams does he want to keep?

    • Sydney Roosters and Saint Illawarra. Sydney should have ALL of Sydney less the southern part around Cronulla and Saint George area and the Roosters get the rest. That will stop the german Hitler minded soufffffths regime from stealing the Western Suburbs and the parts they have already stolen of Easts, Glebe, Balmain and Newtown.😵😆😂🤣😁😆😆😂😆🤣

    • First Division 12 teams play each other twice with A TOP FIVE 22 rounds Wooden Spooners each year get demoted to the premiers of a 2nd division that play a 8 team comp playing each other three times for a 21 round comp and a top 5. 4 new teams to be added to 2nd division. Perth, 2nd Brisbane team, New Guinea and Adelaide/2nd NZ team.💪😵👍🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓

    • I love the thought of a two division comp, that way the NRL can finally get rid of souffffths in 2nd division and the rabbit’os can add a few more years that they did not compete in the NRL to go with the other two they weren’t good enough to compete in the years 2000 and 2001. 🤣😆😂😁😆🤣😆😂🤣

  3. I think his concussions are really stuffing his head up.
    If you go by what he is saying we would have to cull 7 Sydney teams.
    NSW is the rugby league heartland hence the reason it has more teams.
    If you are going to cull teams the first that should go are the ones who the NRL have had to bail out financially.
    That would be the Titans, Knights and Sharks.
    Then you can add the teams that have had to merge to survive.
    That would be the Dragons, Manly and Tigers.
    That is six teams which would bring it down to 10 teams.
    Add in the Perth team and a second team from Queensland and we have the 12 teams Joey wants.
    The other option is to cull the six teams that have the least amount of Memberships.
    That would be the Titans, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Raiders, Cowboys and Sharks.
    Then add a Perth team and a second Queensland team.
    In all seriousness we need to expand not contract.
    If you look at the top clubs in the comp like the Roosters who pretty much have 17 rep players take the field every week yet some how remain under the cap, there is more than enough talent to be spread around.

    • Wake up to yourself Kev. Parra have been a disgrace recently so they will be shown the door first then souffffths who don’t even have a Leagues Club or a Home ground. Add Perth and a 2ND Brisbane team and keep 16 teams the way it is and we have expanded the game.💪🐔👍🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓

      • Genius. Boot the 2 most popular (supported) Sydney sides out of the comp to make way for 2 sides that will struggle (short / medium term).
        That will grow the game.
        I’m all for a Perth, and another Qld team, but they will both have headwinds for several years, at least, meanwhile you disenfranchise over 50k current NRL club members, and their droves of other supporters Genius.

      • You really are clueless aren’t you WoodGoose.
        Yes Parra have been going bad lately but they still outdo the Sydney City Bush Turkeys in membership numbers by a long way.
        Its pretty pathetic that Parra got the spoon last year yet are third behind Broncos and Souths where as the Turkeys won the premiership are only third from the bottom just in front of Manly and the Titans.
        If it was to come down to membership numbers and finances, the Sydney City Bush Turkeys would go before Parra did.
        Uncle Nick won’t be around forever to prop up the clubs finances and hand out the paper bags under the table. 🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩🐔💩

  4. Get rid of super league teams first and if that’s not enough teams to cul then Mr Johns might like to offer Newcastle as a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter. Hands off the Tigers.

    • That sounds more like it get rid of Penrith, Canterbury, Cronulla bring back Newtown Norths and Balmain stand alone from a wets stand alone then we have 12 teams. Pi$$ the others off🤣😆😂😁😂😵😁😂😆🤣 Oh wait there kick souffffths out like they deserved to be back in 2000 and make Illawarra a stand alone team ans Saint George a stand alone team. 💪😵👍

      • So get rid of the club in the best financial condition ( as per the Sunday Footy Show 2018 ) in Penrith. That has the biggest Leagues Club by far. Has one of the biggest junior leagues & has several other Panthers clubs, such as Bathurst. The club that does more for country RL than any other team. Plus an ever growing population.
        If anything , Penrith should become NSW Country or NSW Country / Penrith.
        Play more games as NSW Country in country areas & be able to demand more games , as home games in country areas.
        They look after their juniors as well as any team & have the best association with country football. With assisting Western Division etc.
        What young kids outside of Sydney Metro / Newcastle/ Illawarra who play League, would not want to then play for NSW Country?
        It’s an ideal fit!

    • That sounds more like it get rid of Penrith, Canterbury, Cronulla bring back Newtown Norths and Balmain stand alone from a wests stand alone then we have 12 teams. Pi$$ the others off🤣😆😂😁😂😵😁😂😆🤣 Oh wait there kick souffffths out like they deserved to be back in 2000 and make Illawarra a stand alone team ans Saint George a stand alone team. 💪😵👍

    • That sounds more like it get rid of Penrith, Canterbury, Cronulla bring back Newtown Norths and Balmain stand alone from a wests stand alone then we have 12 teams. Pi$$ the others off🤣😆😂😁😂😵😁😂😆🤣 Oh wait there kick souffffths out like they deserved to be back in 2000 and make Illawarra a stand alone team and Saint George a stand alone team. 💪😵👍

  5. From a strategic & geographic point, I would say Brisbane can handle 2 reams, Gold Coast should be more northern NSW/central coast, Newcastle, Illawarra and Canberra need to stay and develop, Five team in Sydney – North, South, Central and West x 2.. Future growth is pacific islands & NZ. Every since the name was changed to “NRL” there seems to be this obsession to put teams across the country – regardless of support, juniors or cost.

  6. We should not be getting rid of anyone. This is expansion folks. The most sensible option by a country mile is 2 divisions each of 12 teams. Cannot do that overnight but over say 6 years it should not be a problem.

  7. I think Joey’s years of head knocks R catching up with him.

    Half of the players in the comp R new Zealander’s so that tells me they need another team over there and 100% Queensland an Redcliffe is as ready 2 good as can be. Great field new grand stands and have been a pretty consistent club in the Q-cup with a NRL cap they can get that handful of NRL talent we lose 2 union or superleague and they’ll b sweet.
    Perth 👎
    will just b another club the NRL has to help out like the Melbourne Storm (if they don’t win they don’t get supporters so ref’s R told to go easy on them and help them win) u C it happen with the storm all the time if U think about it it’s smart business , they say Melbourne’s the top sports state witch is bulls#+t. Leave Perth to the rugby union.

    • Melbourne the top sports state is bulls#+t? LOL🤣. What are you smoking dutto?
      Melbourne is the sports Capital of not only Australia but also the world. We have the best events, the best stadiums and the best fans, stuff Sydney can only dream about.

      • +1.
        If all you Sydney clubs fans became supporters maybe the NRL wouldn’t be considering culling your clubs,
        GWS has more members over 7 clubs in NSW you all should be embarrassed.

  8. Drugs have taken their toll Johns. We went through this sh!t under superleague and now you want to start this garbage all over again and start another war that’ll destroy NRL for good this time. The NRL iks no longer the dominate sport, Sydney is vastly different, if you kill off that many Sydney clubs you’ll condemn the NRL to be a second tier sport. The satndard of the game has nothing to do with lack of talent but pathetic decisions made going bqck to that moron and former superleague stooge lawyer, Gallop. He turned this game into be more about TV rights and dumbing the game down and slashing costs than about the footlball and the fans. It’s only gotten worse since. The refs have been a joke, the bunker an even biogger joke, the players beahiour worse and worse, the player movements are a total joke, and the fact the NRL only really cares if 3 or 4 teams continue to win the comp. Greenberg was a dolt at the bulldogs who then gets promoted to run the NRL. They aree just idiot bean counters that know nothing abouyt the gme and just see numbers on a page. They’ll quote BS stats all the while the fans are screaming about how the game is going downhill.

    I can tell you this Johns, if the NRL tires you imbecilic approach you’ve lost me and probably hundreds of thousands of fans for ever. I’ll watch Netflix and never look at another league game in my life.

    So get a brain and if you want to make a sacrifice offer up the Knights then give yourself a trlpple uppercut.

    • I’m a Queenslander and the Broncos games pay for the NRL, Friday nights game 45.000+ And that’s not a 1 off , most games we get 35+

      Melbourne get 13.000 and thats probably all the Queenslanders down there supporting all our Queensland players or New South Wales Players that play for the Melbourne Storm ,because you aren’t good enough to have your own NRL players

      Players say Suncorp is the best Stadium to ever play at. Yea Melbourne’s GFL is big but that’s it.

      • Broncos might get some of best crowd’s but every time I’ve been to Broncs v Storm half the stadium is gone when they are losing. In all games I’ve been to 2008 semi final is the only game I’ve seen their fans stick around

        If Queensland teams aren’t winning Queenslanders don’t follow just look at the Titans.

        I don’t think Brisbane can support another team

        • Might leave early at least we turn up in the first place and the fans who do stay there still more then what the storm get at a game.
          Will say the storm team has been a tuff rival of Brisbane, thanks to all the Qlders an NSW players , but in saying that the club is the best in the comp at cheating. The 2 grand finals they lost speaks for itself… And then the help of the NRL ref’s to keep the club alive in the NRL. The Melbourne storm will never live it down they had 2 cheat to win.

  9. Another nz team would definitely benefit the it would give young players another team to want to play for.rather then go to oz teams.more opportunity is always good

  10. My 12 Clubs:
    Canberra Raiders
    Melbourne Storm
    New Zealand Warriors
    Brisbane Broncos
    Redcliffe Dolphins
    North Queensland Cowboys
    West Coast Pirates
    Sydney Roosters
    South Sydney Rabbitohs
    St George Illawarra Dragons
    Newcastle Knights
    Penrith Panthers
    Get rid of; Manly, Sharks, Tigers, Eels, Bulldogs and Titans

  11. If it went that way. Why keep the Roosters?
    No junior league to speak of & in a little area.
    Surely they’d have to move to another area , like Gosford.

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