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.
“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.”
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.”