SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Allianz Stadium in Sydney ahead of the final sporting fixture to be held prior to demolition on September 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. Allianz Stadium, formally known as the Sydney Football Stadium is a rectangular sports field built in 1988 next to the Sydney Cricket Ground. It is used for field sports including rugby league, rugby union and football and hosts stadium concerts. The New South Wales government will rebuild the venue into a 40,000 to 45,000 seat state of the art facility to commence late 2018 due for completion in 2022. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Fox Sports’ Paul Kent has declared that the only way an expansion of the NRL would work is through the relocation of one of the Sydney teams.

Extending the league interstate has been at the centre of discussion ahead of the new season, with Brisbane and Perth thrown up as possible locations for a new club.

However, Kent believes it would require one of the Sydney clubs to shift due to the crowded market.

“We all concede nine teams in Sydney is too many because the market is saturated with sporting teams with other codes as well,” Kent told NRL 360.

“The way the NRL have got to do it is raise the bar about being able to survive in the competition, as far as costs.

“At some point a Sydney team will say, we are struggling here and we need some help and at that point the NRL should say we will help you, but we will help you play out of Perth or Brisbane.

“That way the club presents it to their fans and says, this is our only way to go ahead and it is a club decision.

“There are still going to be fans that won’t like it, but that is the only way.”

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James Hooper argued that previous attempts to move Sydney teams has failed, as seen with the Bears and Manly.

“Relocation I don’t think is the answer because we have seen it in the past with a failed joint venture between the Bears and Manly and it doesn’t work,” Hooper said.

“The Bears have a lot of passionate fans who are disenfranchised with the game and I don’t think transporting a Sydney team, where there are too many teams and putting them up in Queensland is the model for success.”

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said a decision would be made based off what most benefits the league, not what is the most popular.

“At the end of the day we are going to have to make some decisions and some of our decisions aren’t popular,” Greenberg said.

“It is a big decision for the game and it has to be genuinely long term thinking. Do we want an extra game with extra teams or do we want to consider the footprint and geography of the game?

“I don’t have an answer for you today, but it is going to be a hot topic.”

18 COMMENTS

  1. At some point in the near future a Sydney team will fold or relocate. Then despite that team averaging about 15000 home crowds and the same number of members there will be an outcry from thousands of more people.
    The reality is if you don’t support your side by attending games and buying memberships you risk this happening.

    • Well said Adam,

      I still think that a 2 tier system with automatic promotion / relegation is the way to go. Then you simply let market forces make the hard decisions for you. Want to bring the Bears back or put a team in Adelaide, fine division 2 and earn your right to progress from there.

      • That only works for soccer because of the amount of talent in the game means that every comp can have top quality players in multiple countries and are competitive.

        Happens in super league aswell because the talent pool there are similar in skill and the amount of “superstars” there are limited.

        It wouldn’t work here because all of the talent in qld Cup and nsw Cup are already signed to nrl teams and therefore all those other teams would have to go out and by players who are already not nrl standard which means those 3 Promoted teams would get demolished each year they got picked and it would be the same teams going up and down each year.

        The only way it would truly work if 1. They completely destroy union as a professional sport not only in Aus but in nz, UK and the pacific nations so that we could have the best possible rugby talents in those areas 2. Expanding the game even further to more markets like USA, France, Italy ect so that there is so much talent that the nrl can’t hold a manopoly on all the superstar quality players.

    • Why ?

      Central Coast Population 330,000
      Port Moresby, PNG 310,000
      Sunshine Coast 303,000
      Bathurst 38,000
      Perth 2,000,000
      Brisbane 2,400,000

      Q.E.D.

      • Perth and a second Brisbane team are surely next in line. The Central Coast brings nothing new to the NRL and is only an hour up the road from Manly. I can see merits to a team from PNG eventually, but not yet. Country NSW sounds all well and good, but the population density is not there unfortunately.

      • Bathurst would be the central location for a larger NSW regional population.
        Perth is AFL crazy and rugby league would barely garner any interest.

        • “Perth is AFL crazy”

          Well that is a surprise, there is no alternative is there ? Its hardly surprising that they are not NRL crazy when the best they have is park footy. Who knows, little Johnny might love to follow NRL but wait, where is the nearest team ? That’s right – several hours on a plane away.

          The most crazy AFL mad place on the planet is Melbourne and we put a team in there – automatic failure – err no, 4th biggest team in the comp for memberships, highly successful on the pitch and not doing too bad financially, hope for Perth yet then.

        • How far is that larger regional population going to stretch though? Wagga is nearly 4 hours away, the Albury/Wadonga area 5 hours, Parkes and Dubbo in the vicinity of 2 hours. The area is too large and too sparse for it to work IMO.

          Rugby league already gets a lot of interest in Perth, and as Rucky says, AFL is their only option. Perth brings new fans, new sponsors, and in a big benefit for the new TV deal, a new time slot for Fox to show games. It is the c choice I think, and a second team in the Brisbane area also makes a lot of sense.

  2. The NRL eliminated souffths years ago after booting them out of the comp. I think they should be first to be relocated. Some clowns 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🎱 on here that live in the past from 1971 backwards think the NRL believe them to be the pride of the league. The NRL want them gone and the sooner the better.💪🐔👍😂😆🤣😆🤣😂

    • Using membership as a guide then you have no chance. The second highest club membership in the comp at nearly 30,000, there is no way the NRL wants them gone. On the other hand, there are a whole host of sydney clubs with Memberships between 10,000 and 14,000. Whilst memberships alone should not be the sole determinant, it is a good place to start. The lowest Sydney club is Manly.

  3. Paul Kent is right about the short term it will have to be relocating instead of expanding.

    I don’t agree with the whole Redcliffe idea for second Brisbane team I think having to teams in north Brisbane is stupid and would be much better off putting a team in Ipswich which you also get the Logan and south West Brisbane south west population going to the games aswell I also think league could have a Perth team and central Queensland team and a second nz team (Wellington or Christchurch) in the future

    • Agreed – a Redcliffe team is narrowing the focus too much with limited access (tried the gateway recently?) – an Ipswich team makes more sense. Population hub, easily accessible etc.

  4. No brainer really.
    Manly to Adelaide
    Sharks to Perth
    Both clubs offer the league nothing except bad headlines.

  5. Putting a Sydney team in QLD will never work. I think two Sydney teams have to go eventually, with a team in Perth and one more in the Brisbane region. It will be a tough call on which teams. I must also add that this must be the Gold Coast last chance

    • ….. and that is why the two tier approach works so well.

      Let Brisbane and Perth and Adelaide and PNG wherever put their teams in a second division and let merit run it from there. Take a look at how Toronto worked in the UK system, coming in at the third division level and last year just one game away from Superleague.

      For me, this should be a no brainer solution to our current predicaments. The only thing stopping it is politics

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