Where should rugby league and the NRL look to expand to next?

Here are the ten potential homes for new a NRL team, including their existing readiness and future potential.

Central Coast

Pros

  • Ready-made stadium
  • Bears brand has a legion of loyal fans scattered all over Australia awaiting their return
  • Business and entrepreneur John Singleton has previously stated he would underwrite their return
  • A full house every week is almost guaranteed for the rugby league-mad area
  • Huge junior participation of league in the area
  • With the railway station across the road and reasonably good highway system transportation to the ground is sorted

Cons

  • Central Coast is far too close to Sydney and effectively you are adding another Sydney team
  • Lack of sponsorship and corporate opportunities
  • The population of just 325K is seen as to low to sustain a team

Expansion Potential: 10/10

Perth

Pros

  • The West has an appetite for rugby league. The Western Reds had been reasonably successful prior to the Super League war in the mid 90’s
  • They have a good rectangular stadium at NIB stadium
  • The ability to have a game well into the evening in the East is a good a money spinner
  • The abandonment of the Super rugby Team means there is no form of professional “rugby “on the west coast of Australia
  • A-league Perth Glory owner Tony Sage and former Balmain Great Benny Elias have been behind the scenes wanting to underwrite a Perth Pirates bid

Cons

  • All teams require a squad of 30 players. What do the players not involved in the first-grade games do?

Expansion Potential: 10/10

2nd Brisbane team

Pros

  • To end Brisbane Broncos monopoly
  • With a population of 2.4 million, a second team sustainable
  • Can share Suncorp Stadium
  • Corporate and sponsorship potential
  • Existing consortium Brisbane Bombers
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Cons

  • Broncos are so entrenched, will there be enough support for a new team?
  • It may impact the traditional QLD competition

Expansion Potential: 10/10

Wellington, New Zealand

Pros

  • Expand on the market for rugby league in New Zealand
  • The existence of a consortium trying to set up a team to play Super League UK. If they could try and to exist in a competition based out of the UK, they could easily base their team in the NRL.
  • Domination of the old NYC cup competition suggests there is a big talent pool of potential payers

Cons

  • The main stadium the “cake tin” is not suited for rugby league
  • The popularity of rugby union would drown out any publicity for league therefore corporate and crowd support would be minimal
  • Can NRL be rewarded financially by having two New Zealand teams

Expansion Potential: 5/10

Papua New Guniea

Pros

  • In a country where rugby league is a national sport and almost a religion, Papua New Guinea is truly rugby league mad
  • Surprise QLD Cup winners in 2017 the Papua New Guinea Hunters have shown that they are not just a novelty
  • Crowd support will never be a concern, only to security perhaps
  • Port Moresby 320K population where games will be played out of a completely redeveloped 15K capacity home ground

Cons

  • Financial concerns and lack of corporate support will be the major hindrance. The Papua New Guinea government might underwrite the team
  • The lack of players that would relocate to Papua New Guinea means they would have to rely on their own resources to maintain playing stocks
  • The security of players and entourage

Expansion Potential: 7/10

Cairns

Pros

  • Large rugby league supporter base in the region
  • They have a good junior base that has supplied many NRL players
  • They are currently represented by the Northern Pride in the Intrust QLD Cup
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Cons

  • A small population of 150K
  • No stadium

Expansion Potential: 3/10

Sunshine Coast

Pros

  • Has a population base of 300K and growing
  • Need for a national sporting footprint is much needed. As the netball team, The Lightning, proved as Premiers in their first season, the potential for sporting representation is huge
  • The Falcons play in the Intrust QLD Cup acting as a feeder Club for the Melbourne Storm

Cons

  • The lack of a sporting venue to host NRL. The local stadium would need to be redeveloped
  • With no consortium, they are well behind other hopefuls

Expansion Potential: 8/10

Ipswich (Northern Corridor)

Pros

  • Ipswich area is projected to rise from 200K to 430K by 2030 so it is not if but when in regards to population
  • Ipswich Jets being a constant in the QLD competitions over the years
  • Large junior base all things look promising for a potential bid in future years

Cons

  • Without a quality venue, Ipswich will not be considered until the QLD government invest in a new stadium
  • No consortium exist

Expansion Potential: 7/10

Fiji

Pros

  • Growing rugby league nation
  • Existing professional rugby union team playing in main Australian rugby team competition
  • Intrust NSW Cup bid
  • Great away fan trip

Cons

  • Lack of corporate or sponsorship
  • Financial instability
  • Rugby union have a stronghold
  • Lack of stadium

Expansion Potential: 3/10

Adelaide

Pros

  • The Rams left a footprint in the 90’s
  • Great stadium

Cons

  • Not enough interest, AFL mad state already
  • Little or no rugby league local competition
  • No known consortium

Expansion Potential: 4/10

what do you think? Where should league look at future expansion?

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. Central Coast expansion potential 10/10???? Is the author from there, or a Bears supporter by chance?

    Given the cons of lack of sponsorship and corporate opportunities and the proximity to the already saturated Sydney market how could it possibly 10/10

  2. Really whats the difference between a 2nd team in Brisbane and Ipswich? One of the same, right?
    If we were going to be this “simple” with our approach then I like the idea of Sunshine Coast, but I think we need a completely different approach.
    Don’t just put 1 expansion team in, but 4 or 5 (into the top 4 or 5 listed above), and have a relegation system in for Sydney (possibly 2 teams) and Queensland, and even one of the NZ teams (or combined OS team) if one of the expansion locations is NZ/PNG/Fiji.
    We have the lower grade competition(s) there, lets use it/them for relegation in order to help us expand the foot-print of the game – which will include improved time-zones for games.
    I can see lots of players signing 1 year “release” contracts if their team gets relegated, but they would then return the following year.
    I reckon it could work if some serious thought was put into it?

  3. I still believe that the Nrl should have a system similar to the soccer in Europe. It should be modified a little bit so this is what I believe nrl should do make a national reserve grade competition. So that all the locations listed above can have their own team. And the winner of the season gets promoted into the NRL and the wooden spooners get relegated into the Reserve Grade comp. The 16 teams I would have for the reserve grade comp are
    1. 2nd New Zealand team
    2. PNG Hunters
    3. Perth Pirates
    4. Brisbane Bombers
    5. Northern Pride
    6. Wyong Roos
    7. Wentworthville Magpies
    8. Mounties
    9. Adelaide Team
    10. NT Team
    11. Sunshine Coast Falcons
    12. Mackay Cutters
    13. 2nd Melbourne Team
    14. Tasmanian Team
    15. Fijian Team
    16. Polynesian Team (Samoan & Tongan team)

    Not only will this expand the game it’ll create more tension towards the bottom of the NRL Ladder as no team wants to be relegated would also make transfers more exciting as some NRL players would pledge themselves to this team. Would get rid of all the understudy teams. I highly doubt this will ever happen but I like the idea and think it should be considered by the Nrl it will be financially expensive but it would expand the fan base of the greatest game of all and could overtake AFL as The Most Popular Australian Sport.

    • Agree totally on this but maybe only 10 clubs max with no team’s feeders. Winner gets NRL promotion and wooden spoon from NRL gets demoted. Perth, Adelaide, Ipswich, Brisbane, Papua new Guinea, Fiji, Wellington, central coast, northern territory team and one other good location fight it out to become a NRL team.

      • Absolutely agreed! The NRL has to create an appeal to back up the game of Rugby League. There needs to be a promotion and relegation structure set up to add to the spectacle of Rugby League. The EPL became the biggest league in the world due to the intrigue of Promotion and Relegation. Hence sponsors got on the back of it and started pumping money into the league. Similar needs to happen in the NRL to boost the popularity and intrigue of the game. The crap that Rugby Union etc dominates a particular region is bollocks! If you have an appealing product backed with the game itself it will gain awareness and then grow as a sport!

        Greenberg stop picking up your paycheck for doing nothing and actually work for your money! Easy to talk the big talk, but by dumbing down the game you are just making the game dumber and stuck in the new age vacuum!

  4. Central Coast is to close to Sydney and the fans already have their own Sydney team to follow. They can get a train to Sydney in an hour or less to watch their favorite teams. Northern Eagles gave it a go with a huge fail.

    The Only two places they need to go is Perth and a second Brisbane team with a view to eventually getting a Adelaide side in the Comp. Melbourne had no junior comps but they have turned into a super power. Adelaide and Perth could easily replicate the same success over a period of time. If Manly have come out to the western suburbs of Sydney to play there reserves/feeder club in the Blacktown City region why cant Adelaide have the North Sydney and Newtown juniors to bolster their teams. or for that matter the Central Coast?

    Rugby League needs a second Brisbane team as much as they need Adelaide and Perth to be a National game. It was all set up before and if the greedy clubs who started the League war did not jump ship into Super League the game would have been thriving in all those places now which is 20 years on. But teams like Brisbane, Warriors, Canberra, Canterbury, Penrith, Cronulla are the reason why league went backwards.

    After they garbage was settled teams that got kicked out like second Brisbane team Adelaide and Perth they destroyed what the ARL had set up and put us back 25yrs at least.

  5. In theory it sounds appealing – and I like eels4 geographic coverage – but realistically, someone has to pay for it. Flying teams around the pacific every week, player payments, staff, etc. I strongly believe in putting teams into regions WHERE THEY PLAY THE GAME! At least initially. Melbourne worked, but with a truckload of money, which won’t happen again. I think some people got carried away when the name was changed to the NRL – thinking to be national we need team in every state. Why not be the dominant team sport on the east coast – where 70% of the population resides? Then expand into places that have heard of the game – some pacific islands perhaps, another NZ team. Fill the stadium in NSW and QLD first.

  6. Agree totally on this but maybe only 10 clubs max with no team’s feeders. Winner gets NRL promotion and wooden spoon from NRL gets demoted. Perth, Adelaide, Ipswich, Brisbane, Papua new Guinea, Fiji, Wellington, central coast, northern territory team and one other good location fight it out to become a NRL team.

  7. Haven’t they discuss a Central Queensland more than a Sunshine Coast, or Adelaide team. Never heard about Sunshine Coast or Adelaide getting even an idea for expansion. And the Cairns team in joining the bid with the PNG bid aswell.

  8. I must be the only person who thinks the game is good enough as it is…. try and grow the international game and leave Sydney the heart of rugby league.

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