Has it been six months already? That seems to be how long the cool down period seems to be between the expansion or relocation discussion starting up again.

This time it is on the back of comments made by NRL CEO Todd Greenberg that again indicate that expansion is on the agenda.

I've long been a big supporter of expansion. There simply has to be a team in Perth, with a second Brisbane or New Zealand team just edging out a central coast or central NSW club.

If they were to announce expansion tomorrow with two sides coming into the competition in 2021 or 2022 I'd be over the moon.

More teams equal more fans, especially in AFL towns like Perth. The time slot alone that Perth would allow broadcasters makes the game more valuable overall.

That said, there is one HUGE argument that seems to be red hot right now as to why the NRL can't expand.

There simply aren't enough quality players going around to form two more NRL worthy squads.

I'm very much against relocation and I believe the NRL are also. For all the talk of no bailing out clubs, the NRL can't afford to lose or relocate a side.

The huge majority of any team relocated's fans will walk away. That's fans lost to the game.

Not to mention the fact that any future NRL TV deal will be worth more with an extra fixture per week, especially with that plum WA time-slot every second week.

The NRL wouldn't want to risk massive fan backlash and losing a big increase on TV deal by shifting a side.

Whichever side (or sides) moved would drag it through the courts and it would be a black eye for a code that is already far from a media darling.

So the clubs would have to be start up sides, much like the Titans were back in 2007.

Any expansion would be two teams rather than one given the reluctance to bring back those horrid bye rounds, and as mentioned provide an extra fixture each week.

That's 60 more NRL contracts available to be filled from outside the current NRL crop of talent.

I hate to single out an NRL club but right now the Bulldogs are about as far from a NRL squad as we've seen since the ASADA affected Sharks in 2014.

With the greatest of respects to the Dogs players and fans, the gulf in talent between their squad and the more favoured sides is massive.

They'll come out and win five straight now that I've said that, but it's hard to believe their side is worth as much as the Bunnies, Roosters or even the Panthers.

Where do the 60 players come from?

Of course not all 60 will play NRL, they're just the squads, but we need at least 26 run on NRL players and a further eight off the bench, so we'll work off 34 players being needed.

Any new club would look to sign two or three big name stars much like the Titans did upon their reintroduction into the NRL.

Curtis Rona, a product of the WA junior system would be a target. The current Wallaby would be a huge name and a local player with plenty of League experience.

So we need to find 33 players.

There is some freakish talent coming through the junior grades, but as seen with the AFL's introduction of the Giants, it could take years for those young players to realise their potential and become competitive.

There are plenty of bench players for current NRL sides who would move for full time roles. Those players would have to be replaced but it's easier to replace bench players than starters.

Again both the NSW and QLD Cup have plenty of talent who could make the step up.

That said though, there have been more than a few cases of NSW Cup stars moving up only to be sent back to NSW Cup.

Brad Abbey is too good for NSW Cup. Way too good. Absolute star. He was recently overlooked for a rookie for a vacant wing spot.

He'd surely be a target but with all due respect, unless the new sides can land six or seven big name players, they face being easy beats for at least the first season or two.

The gulf between the top sides and the bottom sides right now is massive. This would widen it and also bring other clubs down.

Ultimately it is inevitable that there will be teams added. There certainly should be, but only when the NRL talent pool is deep enough.

There's a quick fix of bringing across Super League stars and signing hot properties from the junior grades and hoping, but with a limited salary cap it's going to be hard to drag mass numbers of the ESL's elite across in one hit.

NRL user @RugbyLeagueGod put together two sides made up of NSW/QLD Cup players and added some ESL talent. Take a look below.

Fair to say I can't see either of those sides winning too many games. Throw in two mega stars for each side and you're still a long way off a side capable of playing finals footy.

I hate to argue against something I would like to see so much, but right now the player pool is just not deep enough to justify two more sides being added.

10 COMMENTS

  1. “There simply aren’t enough quality players going around to form two more NRL worthy squads”

    This often floated but it is complete and utter B.S. It is simply not true. Sure, it would take a couple of years for things to shake out but there is more than sufficient talent out there for just 2 new teams.

    People who say this are like the policemen who turn up to traffic accidents and notice that every time they get there, there is an ambulance on the scene and concluding that therefore ambulances must cause accidents.

    If you look at our current talent pool it roughly equates to how many Rugby League playing jobs there are in the 16 clubs that make up the current NRL – Duh. If these youngsters don’t get a job with an NRL club then they go get a job elsewhere. Billy Slater possibly the best fullback we have ever seen had to travel from Innesfail to Melbourne to get a chance. Had the Storm knocked him back he would probably have gone back to being a jockey. Cameron Smith was rejected by Brisbane and he too went to Melbourne, if he had been refused he would probably have got a job as an accountant or something. The point is, that spare talent doesn’t hang about being spare talent just so that the NRL can say Oh look at all that spare talent – we can start another team up. They go and get other jobs – talent lost because we never know about them. Then there are all those that leave our code to go play union or AFL or some other sport – talent not wasted but still lost because we cannot accommodate them.
    We have to create the demand for this talent to emerge. If we have 500 jobs for players in the NRL then all we will get is talent roughly equivalent to 500 people. Increase that to 600 and I will guarantee the talent will emerge.

  2. Fact no.1
    No Sydney based clubs want to merge or relocate.
    Fact no.2
    No fans of Sydney based clubs want to see their
    Club merge or relocate.

    The only way to change these facts is with sweeteners. Maybe the NRL offer a Club $1million a season for 10 years as an incentive to relocate, or an extra $250K in the salary cap for 5 years.

  3. Greenberg has got No idea at all ,how the f#@ken hell he is running the game I don’t know . Like IV said b4 he had no idea how 2 run the Bulldogs without running the game, NOBODY OBVIOUSLY WANTED THE JOB.
    Redcliffe pretty close to NRL standard just needs a couple of quality players there already got a great field and Grand stands so they wouldn’t need a great deal just the 6.9m what ever the cap these days, an they can buy them plays easy done so that’s one team we all know we need another team in Qld.

  4. “They face being easy beats for at least the first season or two.” The Raiders, Bulldogs, Sharks, Eels, and Cowboys all got the Wooden Spoon in their first year. That’s nothing new. It takes time.

  5. The NRL should expand the comp with a 2nd Brisbane team and Perth. Plenty of players around to fill two more teams and plenty of players in the UK that can stay in Australia. In the off season just gone Souffffths and Parra both signed up 9 players and let 9 players go. In just those two clubs alone in their transit lounge movements to buy a premiership that equals 36 players moved and signed with those two clubs. Plus we have 30 Aussie players in the UK that would of preferred to play NRL rather than English super league. 😁😆😂🤣

  6. We certainly don’t need another new zealand side at the expense of a Sydney team . Its the national rugby league not the international rugby league. Perth or Brisbane ok.

  7. If the NZ Warriors win three in a row which will never happen then we will need a 2nd NZ team. The Warriors will never win a comp. They are like Cronulla and soufffths. Maybe in 50 years time or there abouts they might crack one. The New Zealanders are really rapt about the armature code and are dominate at it. But they cannot produce a big comp like the NRL can and so they invented that other rubbish comp with all the other countries. Which by the way is dying but the block heads still will not gather enough support for a second League team.🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱🎱

  8. Does Perth have a development pathway and massive league following already? Unless there is a massive rugby league comp i don’t know about in Perth that is producing a stream local Perth juniors, I don’t see the point in having a team there. after the first year or two of excitement what is their development strategy going to be? whats the long term vision here? would it be there just so the NRL can say, ‘we’re a real national game now’.
    I just don’t think that it would be a sustainable franchise. I’m not sure just placing a team somewhere will mean that it will draw fans and work out in the long run.
    I do think they need to bring in new teams before cutting or merging back down to 16 teams tho. i think the game would lose more fans than it would gain be moving a sydney club.
    if i was running Manly, I’d be looking at expanding into the CennyCoast and/or trying to rejoin with the Bears asap…become the Mosman-WoyWoy Sea Eagles.
    or we just shaft the Sharks over to Perth. Name has a good ring to it, keeps the same colors so fans can re-use those blue Western Force jerseys.