I wish the NRL had 2 divisions like they do in English soccer

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TheBillABCTV

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Oct 4, 2021
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The NRL comp currently has 16 clubs:
Brisbane

Canberra

Canterbury

Cronulla

Easts/Sydney Roosters

Gold Coast

Manly

Newcastle

Auckland/NZ Warriors

North Queensland

Parramatta

Penrith

South Sydney

St George – Illawarra

West Tigers

The Dolphins will join as the 17th club in 2023 and maybe in 2025 they might have a 18th Club. I am hoping that Club would be North Sydney bears. For the sake of this thread I will pretend Norths would be the 18th club, with my suggestion of 2 divisions in the NRL from 2030 season.

I would like the NRL comp to be renamed "NRL Premier league" for the 2030 season, the 2nd division to be called "NRL Championship"
To divisions of 14 club meaning 26 Rounds in both Divisions.

The NRL comp for the 2029 season would have 18 clubs with the bottom 4 clubs being relegated to the New 2nd division "NRL Championship"

plus 10 clubs i would want to join the NRL Championship for the 2030 season are:

Newtown Jets

PNG

Wellington

Adelaide Rams

Darwin

Western Reds [Perth]

Central QLD

Wynnum Manly

Souths Logan

Hunter Mariners

Then each season in the NRL Premier league from 2030 season bottom 3 relegate to NRL Championship, a Final 5 in NRL Premier League the Finals system back in the day.
The top 2 teams in the NRL Championship win automatic promotion and Team 3 to team 6 would be in the play offs to win promotion to the NRL Premier league, the winner of the playoff final would win Promotion each season. Every clubs plays each other twice in home and away season in both Divisions. finals for NRL premier league and Playoffs for NRL Championship. This would be both Heritage and expansion.
 

moto748

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Apr 19, 2010
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With, presumably, the long-term objective of making league a truly national sport in Australia? Which I'm sure would be great in an ideal world, but I don't think there's much interest in it for the NRL bigwigs, is there?
 

juss

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Feb 23, 2009
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If the AFL, which is a much bigger national sport in AU with more $ would struggle to sustain the lower level clubs and the talent pool required, and couldn't make this work, I don't think the NRL could either unfortunately.

It would be mega cool and add a heap of excitement to end of the H&A season, and just as cool in the AFL, but I don't think it works in Australia, the population is too low and spread of sports played by Australians means elite athletic talent is spread across too much for this to work.

Relegation concept works best in practice in English soccer, and certain other European soccer leagues, and that's because it's by far the dominant code there by a mile, they can supplement the talent pool with players from all over the world, and they have larger more dense populations to support this.
 

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nobbyiscool

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Australians aren't conditioned to care about anything below the elite level, which is why a 2-division NRL (or A-League for that matter, given football culture) wouldn't work. And I have no idea how you'd condition people to change that.

But hypothetically let's consider the likelihood that the Broncos would've been relegated after 2020 - the biggest team, the biggest market tied to one team ends up in 2nd division? That's a disaster from an attendance and a ratings perspective.
 

GG.exe

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Sep 6, 2005
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Rather than expand the NRL, I'd look to expand via a kind of NRL-2 feeder league.

The talk of NRL expansion always involves ideally having a team in a bunch of key regions. But you kinda already have those teams in the QLD and NSW Cup.

The QLD Cup has a better mix of regions so you'd have to shake up and rationalize the teams in the NSW Cup to include CC, Campbelltown, a couple country teams, and a NZ-2.

Those two leagues don't even have to merge, they can be treated as two conferences. H&A against own conference, a single game against all the other teams in the other conference, and then the top 4 from each conference moving to a playoff format to crown an ultimate champion.
 

Jatz

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Sep 7, 2008
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There's really already two divisions within the NRL.

Teams like Newcastle, Gold Coast, St George, Wests, the Warriors etc are really all destined to be at the bottom.

Every now and then there's a couple of good seasons but they're nowhere near challenging.

This is the last 10 seasons finals appearance of those 5 clubs.

Newcastle x 3, Titans x2, Dragons x 2, Warriors x 1, Wests x 0

The highest finishing position of any of those finalists were 7th (showing they were never really contending).

Across 5 clubs, that's only 8 finals spots in 10 years...

This new loan system is only exacerbating the issue.
 

moto748

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It's funny you say that, because the comment often made by English fans is that SL isn't competitive enough, the same few sides win silverware every year, not like the NRL.

I reckon those guys don't see enough NRL! They might catch the odd big game, but I watch every match, and that's not what I'm seeing. Jatz is spot-on.
 

GG.exe

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The best structure for an NRL-2 imo is what I originally posted. It still has many logistical, financial, player signings flaws, but....

The QLD and NSW Cups are the NRL-2, a new umbrella name for them, but they retain their format. They are classed as "conferences". A North Conference (QLD Cup). A South Conference (NSW Cup).

QLD cup already has a great mix of regions -- PNG, CQ, SC. Rationalize the NSW Cup, get rid of duplicate existing NRL teams, add CC Bears, Perth Pirates, add a NZ team or two, add Campbelltown (if the Tigers won't relocate there fulltime), add a country team, add Adelaide maybe in the future.

The South Conference would have Perth, NZ, CC, regions often cited for possible expansion. The North Conference would have SC, CQ, Cairns and/or PNG, all also often cited as possible long in the future expansion areas. Both would also have 1-2 Brisbane and Sydney clubs.

Anyway, you have like 10 clubs in each conference with all the usual suspects for expansion in it.

They either play only within their own conference home and away, or a mix of games against both, but then the top four from each play knockouts, then winner of each conference plays off in the NRL-2 grand final. The winner of THAT game promotes to the NRL The wooden spoon of the NRL demotes to the NRL-2.

If say a NSW team promotes and a QLD team demotes, you'd have to have some kind of idea for that.

That NRL-2 grand final would also be an epic contest for TV broadcast (as well as the playoffs). The NRL-2 GF could be played as the curtain raiser to the NRL GF.

There'd have to be some kind of rules/system for player transfers when a team promotes. A way for those clubs to add pro players.

It's not perfect and easy, but the structure itself can work, as long as the ARL can control it, get added funding, sponsorship, devise systems to help prop up NRL-2 clubs and player transfers etc
 
Sep 4, 2003
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They probably need 3 disions with WT being lucky to make up the third division numbers
 

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