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.”