It seems as though talk of expanding the NRL competition never really quietens down.

Reports indicate that the NRL may be about to announce an 18th team to enter the competition sooner rather than later.

Although it must be stressed that there has been nothing official, the talk is that the NRL's next side will be one representing Papua New Guinea.

While a potential announcement of a Papua New Guinean side will be the mother and father of all feel good stories, I can't believe the NRL is again going to overlook the obvious answer.

A side based out of Perth.

That's in Western Australia if any NRL officials happen to be reading this.

It seems as though they've completely forgotten it exists ... at least when it comes to expansion.

I want to make it very clear that I don't dislike the idea of a PNG side being introduced, eventually.

The nation is rugby league mad and I've never heard anything but positivity from players coming back from PNG trips.

PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - NOVEMBER 05: Papua New Guinean fans show their support during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup match between Papua New Guinea Kumuls and Ireland on November 5, 2017 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

There is plenty of talent coming out of the nation and I've enjoyed watching the Hunters compete in the QLD Cup. In fact their QLD Cup win remains one of the highlights of my rugby league life.

That said, a NRL team based there makes no sense in practice. Any ideas of basing a side in Cairns or Darwin and playing a game or two there a season defeats the purpose.

A team based and playing out of Perth though, makes the world of sense!

59,000 + people attended both recent Origins held in the WA capital, with Origin fixtures returning there in 2025 and 2028.

"Origin is the pinnacle though and is supported everywhere" I hear from the comments. My simple rebuttal is to look at the farce that was the 2023 Origin opener in Adelaide.

I rest my case.

45,814 people attended the Round 23 double header, headlined by the Bunnies and the Sharks.

Perth is now a rugby league hotbed.

I understand that it wasn't during the days of the Western Reds, but so much has changed since the 1990s.

Firstly, the amount of former NSW and QLD based people living in the west is huge. The mining boom facilitated this, while the laid back life style is a huge positive.

Secondly, pay TV (not to mention streaming) is far more readily available now, so people are actually watching the game in Perth.

I lived in Perth, many moons ago, when the AFL was being showed on Channel 9. This pushed NRL coverage back to 1 am, Perth time.

Foxtel was only in select bars, and very few homes.

Now everybody has it. Or they stream games. Or both.

Speaking of Channel 9 and Foxtel, I have to imagine they'd be falling over themselves the TV friendly Perth time-slot.

Can you imagine a game kicking off at 9pm Sydney and Brisbane time during winter? That's prime time in Perth, and super crowd friendly, while allowing wall to wall Rugby League for Fox Sports on a Saturday.

There is also the Sunday night timeslot. Fox Sports love the post-6pm kick-off on a Sunday. Fans attending games with work the next morning do not. In Perth though, that translates to a 4pm local time kick-off.

You could even do it like the AFL TV deal and have those games broadcast as the free-to-air game in the west to heighten the sense of importance.

I maintain that for a PNG side to work, it needs to play home games in PNG.

With the greatest of respects, it's going to be difficult to convince NRL stars in the prime of their career to turn down moves to the Roosters or Broncos in favour of a shift to Port Moresby.

We've seen how hard it was for the Warriors to hold onto players once they were allowed to move games back across the Tasman.

NRL Rd 16 - Warriors v Wests Tigers
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 03: Tohu Harris and Shaun Johnson of the Warriors lead the team out during the round 16 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium, on July 03, 2022, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

I fully understand that Perth isn't exactly a short train ride away, but the lifestyle over there is very similar to that enjoyed in the eastern states. Albeit quieter, and cheaper!

I can't see a way that PNG could field a competitive side, at least in the first few seasons of their reported existence.

I love the idea of more PNG players entering the competition but the depth of talent just isn't there.

The Hunters finished 10th in the QLD Cup competition this season. 12th in 2022 and 10th in 2001.

Yes there are other PNG players playing elsewhere but we saw how hard it was for the Dolphins to sign marquee players and they're based in the second biggest NRL market in the world.

Plus the costs of setting up brodcasting.

Again, Perth is a long way away, but with the AFL hosting two massive AFL sides as well as an A League club, it's hardly starting from scratch.

Perth has everything. A world class stadium for the big games (and a smaller rectangle one for the rest), a TV friendly time-slot, the demand for a local side to support, and plenty of fans.

These have all been proven. In recent years too.

PNG boasts some incredible positives too but side by side, falls well short of any potential Perth bid.