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

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

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?

 

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