Monday 21 August 2017 / 06:49 AM

SIX UP THE MIDDLE: NRL’S EXPANSION OPTIONS

The NRL must expand and it must expand soon. Here are the potential destinations and the benefits each bring.

Perth

When the NRL next expands, Perth needs to be the first city to be awarded a franchise. The Reds were reasonably successful under try circumstances from 1995-97. Games are taken to Perth annually and are always well patronised. The time zone works, there is a big ex-pat population and it expands the NRL’s footprint nationally. No place makes more sense.

Brisbane

Favoured along with any Perth bid, adding a second Brisbane team should actually be the first option the NRL rules a line through. The Broncos are so institutionalised in Brisbane that a second team will not add to the league, only cannibalise Brisbane. It is probably the hotbed of rugby league in the world and is thriving with one team. A second team just isn’t needed.

Adelaide

The NRL have given short shrift to Adelaide since the Rams died with only a few games played there since. There is little natural drawing power to Adelaide but if the NRL truly wants to be a national competition it needs to consider a return to the City of Churches. The Adelaide Oval could quickly become the most picturesque ground in the NRL.

Central Coast

Once the favourite in the expansion stakes, the Central Coast Bears have Greg Florimo running the show and named David Fairleigh as its inaugural head coach a decade back. But the tide has turned against the bid with the rightful belief that NSW is already oversubscribed with clubs and that such a small area financially couldn’t support an NRL franchise. No chance.

Central Queensland

The Central Queensland bid suffers from a lot of the same issues the Central Coast one does without the benefits of the history the Bears tag brings. The lack of corporate offerings in Central Queensland is a concern but bigger for the league should a move there would not actually add significantly to the fanbase. No stadium is a big drawback too.

Wellington

Wellington made a longshot bid to join the NRL in 2004 when the Titans were accepted. There are significant benefits for the NRL moving to Wellington. A ready-made stadium. A new potential audience. A city that has a long history of rugby league – and one that is seeing a wave of Australian immigrants move there. Any expansion talk should include Wellington as a major bid player.

[YouTube – NRL 2017]

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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