NRL NRL and NRLW expansion

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GG.exe

Post-Human
Sep 6, 2005
128,554
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Fremantle
Clubs come and go. As much as people are born into supporting them, future generations would get as adapted and adopted into other new clubs or relocated clubs. Generational change. No one cries anymore for Fitzroy AR, or Glebe, Newtown, etc in RL.

The bigger picture, the long-term sustainability of a sport itself (not even the league itself), is key. Look at the Brisbane comps for instance, how it morphed over the decades, so many clubs died, merged, till we have the current QLD Cup now and the teams there.

If the Super League had won in the 90s, for instance, just wore down the ARL over time and there wasn't a healing process.....today there'd be a genuine national RL comp, and at some point expanded to include Townsville, NZ, Wollongong, Central Coast. Fans of the Knights would've eventually adopted the Mariners, or the new generation of kids would have, for instance.

Have always thought the best way to creating a national comp was creating new Sydney clubs and having all those famous old clubs still exist in the NSWRL sub-tier only, to keep their histories. The breaking away of, the division of Sydney clubs, is what the problem with SL was. If they instead created four new Sydney clubs (north south, east, west) and left the others to the ARL, and then over time SL got richer stronger corporate backing, RL imo would've eventually been as strong as AFL...especially if they invested money into grassroots along the way, not just broken away to cause damage and eventually fold.

I know my stance is very controversial, and harsh, but I do believe it would've worked better in shifting long-term the masses of RL fans over to an appreciation for it, and disenfranchised fans eventually coming back because the love of the sport overrides...new star players to enthuse over, new rivalries, new histories being forged.

Because the alternative path is what happens now in both AFL and NRL, where the leagues have to start trying to force clubs to merge and lose their identities, or to die out, or to relocate against their wishes. And that will only keep causing tension, dismay, and worse the loss of famous old clubs -- who'd be better of being preserved in a local sub-tier state comp feeder league.
 

Heardy_101

LET'S GO BRANDON
Nov 20, 2011
5,621
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South Australia
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Port Adelaide
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Portsmouth
I would have gone down the route of:

Newtown Tigers (Balmain and Newtown merger, based out of Newtown).

Sent St George Illawarra down to Wollongong permanently as the Illawarra Dragons.

Bears to the Central Coast or Gold Coast.

Redcliffe and Ipswich brought in.

No NZ.

And yeah, dunno after that 🤷‍♂️
 

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GG.exe

Post-Human
Sep 6, 2005
128,554
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I wouldve just pushed all existing Sydney clubs to NSWRL. Created four totally new Sydney clubs (like Broncos were) to rep Sydney. All those NSWRL clubs feed talent and financial/fan support to the four new clubs. Then you can expand all over Australia gradually. In time, 10-20 years, new generations of Sydney people would adopt those new clubs as premier clubs to support like Broncos are now and not the state league qld clubs anymore. South Sydney and Fortitude Valley maintain their history in state leagues, don't die or merge out into irrelevance.
 

GG.exe

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Sep 6, 2005
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I would've set it up that 2-3 NSWRL teams own a single new Sydney club. They help fund it with their leagues clubs and such, and are feeder clubs to that premier club. Try get an equal amount of NSWRL teams backing each club.

Eg... St.G + Cronulla in NSWRL but fund the Sydney South Outlaws. Colors red blue black white

Eg...Manly + Norths in NSWRL but fund the Sydney North Riders. Colors burgundy black red white

Eg....Easts + Souths in NSWRL but fund the Sydney East Wolves. Colors red green blue white

Eg....Parra + Penrith in NSWRL but fund the Sydney West Snakes. Colors blue yellow black white

Canterbury, Balmain, Wests....maybe have to slot them in where most appropriate. Maybe a fifth Sydney team for those three.

Something like that I would've envisioned. At least that way you're tying existing fans of local clubs to a new club, so you don't completely ostracize them.

In time a Sydney East Wolves would've ended up a premier supported club like Brisbane Broncos is to SEQ rather than their original league clubs like Valleys, Wynnum etc before the advent of the Broncos
 

GG.exe

Post-Human
Sep 6, 2005
128,554
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Or.....

Eg... St.G + Cronulla + Canterbury in NSWRL but fund the Sydney South Outlaws. Colors red blue black white

Eg...Manly + Norths + Balmain in NSWRL but fund the Sydney North Riders. Colors burgundy orange black white

Eg....Easts + Souths + Newtown in NSWRL but fund the Sydney East Wolves. Colors red green blue white

Eg....Parra + Penrith + Wests in NSWRL but fund the Sydney West Snakes. Colors blue yellow black white
 

Cubs2Lions

Club Legend
Jan 12, 2021
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Or.....

Eg... St.G + Cronulla + Canterbury in NSWRL but fund the Sydney South Outlaws. Colors red blue black white

Eg...Manly + Norths + Balmain in NSWRL but fund the Sydney North Riders. Colors burgundy orange black white

Eg....Easts + Souths + Newtown in NSWRL but fund the Sydney East Wolves. Colors red green blue white

Eg....Parra + Penrith + Wests in NSWRL but fund the Sydney West Snakes. Colors blue yellow black white
Originally, I was going to go with existing NSW clubs (i.e Parramatta) in creating my own version of how the NRL should have expanded nationally over time til the present era, but then decided against my current idea, given the ideas being presented in reduction of NSW teams explained on previous posts above on this.

As well as that, I was going to write a full essay on this topic and how the NRL should set out the player pathway from community to elite development but I decided against it as there would be too much information to cover and no-one really wants 5 pages worth of it. So basically this post was my opinion on how the NRL competition should have looked like, if it is was really a NATIONAL competition by heart.

If only all the NSW clubs were delegated into the NSW League and were replaced by 4 mega teams in the 80s, which covered the North, East, South & West of the whole NSW region and would have been controlled by the NSW teams before them (as mentioned before), it would have given Rugby League the opportunity to expand the professional competition nationally (and internationally) and improve crowd attendances/broadcasting revenue, while also growing the participation rates of people playing the sport as well in ALL states & territories of the country, through the different formats of the sporting code (rugby league, 7s, touch, oztag, etc) and therefore improve the on-field quality of the sport at the professional level.

As shown below, if the NRL correctly expanded in the right areas and increased development and participation rates of the sport in non-NRL states, the Rugby League landscape & competition could have looked really differently compared to what it is now and possibly rival the AFL in the Number 1 sporting competition in Australia:

Men's/Women's National Rugby League Competition (Model)
Adelaide Rams
(Est. 1997)
Auckland Warriors (Est. 1997)
Brisbane Broncos (Est. 1982)
Cairns Dolphins (Est. 2023)
Canberra Raiders (Est. 1982)
East Sydney Force (Est. 1980) (Merger of Easts/Newtown/Souths)
Gold Coast Titans (Est. 1987)
Illawarra-Wollongong Dragons (Est. 1980)
Ipswich Jets (Est. 2023)
Melbourne Storm (Est. 1992)
Newcastle-Central Coast Knights (Est. 1980)
North Sydney Wolves (Est. 1980) (Merger of Balmain/Manly/Norths)
Perth Mariners (Est. 1987)
South Sydney Outlaws (Est. 1980) (Merger of Canterbury/Cronulla/St. George)
Sunshine Coast Falcons (Est. 2007)
Townsville Cowboys (Est. 1992)
Wellington Orcas (Est. 2007)
West Sydney Pythons (Est. 1980) (Merger of Parramatta/Penrith/Wests)

By the start of the 2023 season, there would be 18 teams entering the competition in my model, with an even split of teams being based in NSW & QLD, a couple of teams located in NZ & surrounding regions and one team being created in ACT, SA, VIC & WA (with scope to expand to NT & TAS or furthermore in non-NRL states in Australia and NZ/Pacific Island cities in the future).

The regular season would last for 26 rounds, in which each team play 24 matches (12x home & 12x away) in a 19-5 spilt model (play each other once + 5 teams twice in even spread of travel time) + 2 byes throughout the season. After the regular season has concluded, the Top 10 go through to the finals with the Top 6 teams having a bye and (7 vs. 10) - (8 vs. 9) playing each other for 7th & 8th position in Week 1 of the finals, before the finals series continues as it has been in AFL & NRL circles as we known them today.

Regarding the Grand Final, the home team gets to host the match in their own state for the day. Although, that does not necessary mean that the home team gets to play at their home ground and might have to play at a bigger stadium in another city in the same state. For example, all the NSW teams would host the game at Stadium Australia in the CBD of Sydney (90,000) compared to their marquee home grounds and teams like Ipswich + Sunshine Coast would play at Suncorp Stadium in the CBD of Brisbane (65,000) over their main home ground (20,000-25,000) to boost GF ticket sales and revenue for the code while keeping that home ground advantage of the home team.

However, most teams would most likely be able to host the Grand Final at their own home ground, in the event of that opportunity occurring, as shown below with the GF stadium options and the spectator capacity limits associated with them:

2023 NRL Grand Final Stadium Options List
North/East/South/West NSW + Illawarra-Wollongong + Newcastle-Central Coast = Stadium Australia (90,000)
Brisbane + Ipswich + Sunshine Coast = Suncorp Stadium (65,000)
Auckland = Mount Smart Stadium (50,000)
Melbourne = AAMI Park (50,000)
Wellington = Sky Stadium (50,000)
Gold Coast = Cbus Super Stadium (45,000)
Perth = HBF Park (45,000)
Adelaide = New Adelaide Rectangular Stadium* (40,000)
Canberra = GIO Stadium (40,000)
Townsville = Queensland Country Bank Stadium (40,000)
Cairns = New Cairns Rectangular Stadium* (35,000)

* - New Stadiums

(Note - Seating capacity numbers are not the correct figures as of 2021/2022, however it should be noted that if the NSWRL did expand the competition correctly using the national footprint and prioritise participation & development of the sport in the past 40 years as such, the state governments & clubs would have had no issue in expanding their stadium's capacity more then they are currently have now throughout that period of time most likely, as a effect of being able to host a national sporting Grand Final and the sport growing as a result in my proposed model).
 

GG.exe

Post-Human
Sep 6, 2005
128,554
77,335
AFL Club
Fremantle
Originally, I was going to go with existing NSW clubs (i.e Parramatta) in creating my own version of how the NRL should have expanded nationally over time til the present era, but then decided against my current idea, given the ideas being presented in reduction of NSW teams explained on previous posts above on this.

As well as that, I was going to write a full essay on this topic and how the NRL should set out the player pathway from community to elite development but I decided against it as there would be too much information to cover and no-one really wants 5 pages worth of it. So basically this post was my opinion on how the NRL competition should have looked like, if it is was really a NATIONAL competition by heart.

If only all the NSW clubs were delegated into the NSW League and were replaced by 4 mega teams in the 80s, which covered the North, East, South & West of the whole NSW region and would have been controlled by the NSW teams before them (as mentioned before), it would have given Rugby League the opportunity to expand the professional competition nationally (and internationally) and improve crowd attendances/broadcasting revenue, while also growing the participation rates of people playing the sport as well in ALL states & territories of the country, through the different formats of the sporting code (rugby league, 7s, touch, oztag, etc) and therefore improve the on-field quality of the sport at the professional level.

As shown below, if the NRL correctly expanded in the right areas and increased development and participation rates of the sport in non-NRL states, the Rugby League landscape & competition could have looked really differently compared to what it is now and possibly rival the AFL in the Number 1 sporting competition in Australia:

Men's/Women's National Rugby League Competition (Model)
Adelaide Rams
(Est. 1997)
Auckland Warriors (Est. 1997)
Brisbane Broncos (Est. 1982)
Cairns Dolphins (Est. 2023)
Canberra Raiders (Est. 1982)
East Sydney Force (Est. 1980) (Merger of Easts/Newtown/Souths)
Gold Coast Titans (Est. 1987)
Illawarra-Wollongong Dragons (Est. 1980)
Ipswich Jets (Est. 2023)
Melbourne Storm (Est. 1992)
Newcastle-Central Coast Knights (Est. 1980)
North Sydney Wolves (Est. 1980) (Merger of Balmain/Manly/Norths)
Perth Mariners (Est. 1987)
South Sydney Outlaws (Est. 1980) (Merger of Canterbury/Cronulla/St. George)
Sunshine Coast Falcons (Est. 2007)
Townsville Cowboys (Est. 1992)
Wellington Orcas (Est. 2007)
West Sydney Pythons (Est. 1980) (Merger of Parramatta/Penrith/Wests)

By the start of the 2023 season, there would be 18 teams entering the competition in my model, with an even split of teams being based in NSW & QLD, a couple of teams located in NZ & surrounding regions and one team being created in ACT, SA, VIC & WA (with scope to expand to NT & TAS or furthermore in non-NRL states in Australia and NZ/Pacific Island cities in the future).

The regular season would last for 26 rounds, in which each team play 24 matches (12x home & 12x away) in a 19-5 spilt model (play each other once + 5 teams twice in even spread of travel time) + 2 byes throughout the season. After the regular season has concluded, the Top 10 go through to the finals with the Top 6 teams having a bye and (7 vs. 10) - (8 vs. 9) playing each other for 7th & 8th position in Week 1 of the finals, before the finals series continues as it has been in AFL & NRL circles as we known them today.

Regarding the Grand Final, the home team gets to host the match in their own state for the day. Although, that does not necessary mean that the home team gets to play at their home ground and might have to play at a bigger stadium in another city in the same state. For example, all the NSW teams would host the game at Stadium Australia in the CBD of Sydney (90,000) compared to their marquee home grounds and teams like Ipswich + Sunshine Coast would play at Suncorp Stadium in the CBD of Brisbane (65,000) over their main home ground (20,000-25,000) to boost GF ticket sales and revenue for the code while keeping that home ground advantage of the home team.

However, most teams would most likely be able to host the Grand Final at their own home ground, in the event of that opportunity occurring, as shown below with the GF stadium options and the spectator capacity limits associated with them:

2023 NRL Grand Final Stadium Options List
North/East/South/West NSW + Illawarra-Wollongong + Newcastle-Central Coast = Stadium Australia (90,000)
Brisbane + Ipswich + Sunshine Coast = Suncorp Stadium (65,000)
Auckland = Mount Smart Stadium (50,000)
Melbourne = AAMI Park (50,000)
Wellington = Sky Stadium (50,000)
Gold Coast = Cbus Super Stadium (45,000)
Perth = HBF Park (45,000)
Adelaide = New Adelaide Rectangular Stadium* (40,000)
Canberra = GIO Stadium (40,000)
Townsville = Queensland Country Bank Stadium (40,000)
Cairns = New Cairns Rectangular Stadium* (35,000)

* - New Stadiums

(Note - Seating capacity numbers are not the correct figures as of 2021/2022, however it should be noted that if the NSWRL did expand the competition correctly using the national footprint and prioritise participation & development of the sport in the past 40 years as such, the state governments & clubs would have had no issue in expanding their stadium's capacity more then they are currently have now throughout that period of time most likely, as a effect of being able to host a national sporting Grand Final and the sport growing as a result in my proposed model).
Reckon that would've worked. Very well set out by you. The important thing would have been to pump money into junior development around Australia, not just try to take over the ARL/NRL for broadcast rights and such. Pumping millions every year, for a sustained 20-30 years would be key because it takes a generation to acclimate the new young kids into the new lot of RL clubs on offer. Eventually the Pythons, Force, Outlaws and Wolves would've been the premier clubs in Sydney like the Broncos are today in Brisbane once that club was formed to represent Brisbane in a higher league. And of course, to ensure teams in Perth and Adelaide had a chance to root in those AFL dominant states. Just like it took the Swans 20-30 years to achieve a level of sustainability in Sydney. The same would be required of Perth and Adelaide, as we've seen of the Melbourne Storm to date. Vic/Wa/Sa to provide a return on such huge financial investment would need to see growing junior leagues in those states, and seeing more and more locals from those states make it to the NRL. To date, Victoria has barely provided any. It's gonna take more time. The AFL has done a better job of expanding junior participation in RL states like NSW and QLD. The NRL still needs to do more in that regard. That's the only obstacle to this grand plan of a streamlined national comp. Another factor that will help RL is that many AFL fans are turning away from the AFL, disenfranchised with the league, the play on the field, the administration, all the BS. Turning to other sports, so RL even now could still benefit from this. But if they'd done our grand plan 20 years ago, they'd have been better for it when this disenfranchised with AFL started happening. Not that they could've predicted it. But that's why you got to take risks, who dares wins. NRL has to stop sitting on its hands and being negative-minded about expansion west.

As for your other clubs....I really like what you've done. My ideal QLD set up is 2x Brisbane-based clubs, 1x Gold Coast, 1x Sunshine Coast/Moreton Bay, 1x Townsville, 1x Cairns. That's an ideal spread.

Newcastle+Gosford is a better regional grab, than trying to force the Sea Eagles to Gosford or to adopt Gosford.
 

RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
3,527
905
AFL Club
Fremantle
I would've set it up that 2-3 NSWRL teams own a single new Sydney club. They help fund it with their leagues clubs and such, and are feeder clubs to that premier club. Try get an equal amount of NSWRL teams backing each club.

IMO that would've set a sound long term foundation.

St.G + Cronulla + Canterbury in NSWRL but fund the Sydney Stingers.

Manly + Norths + Balmain in NSWRL but fund the Sydney Ferrymen.

Easts + Souths + Newtown in NSWRL but fund the Sydney City.

Parra + Penrith + Wests in NSWRL but fund Macarthur.
 

GG.exe

Post-Human
Sep 6, 2005
128,554
77,335
AFL Club
Fremantle

Expansion is a term that has been on the lips of most Rugby League fans since the Dolphins bid to join the NRL was accepted back in October, with the NRL’s newest franchise slowly but surely building a solid side for their inaugural season in 2023

However, the attention of many has since turned to just who will be the NRL’s 18th franchise and where they will be based.

The Bears and Western Australia have already displayed intent to put in a bid, but the fast-approaching conclusion of Sky Sports’ television rights deal with the NRL in New Zealand has sparked speculation that a second team based in the home of the Kiwis could become a reality as early as 2024.

New Zealand based outlet Business Desk has revealed five outcomes that the NRL reportedly wants from the next television deal that they sign with a New Zealand based network that will commence in 2024, which includes more free-to-air games being broadcast in New Zealand, a Magic Round to be held across the Tasman and of course a second New Zealand based franchise in the NRL.

If these reports are true and the NRL’s wishes come to fruition, then this new New Zealand based franchise would enter the competition in 2024 and call either Christchurch or Wellington home.

The Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie has since spoken out on the Big Sports Breakfast in response to Business Desk’s article casting doubts on New Zealand’s chances of having a second NRL team based in their country.

“It’s not something I’ve heard in Australia,” Ritchie said.

“I don’t know, the last time I checked the NRL hadn’t even approved an 18th franchise — we haven’t even got the 17th franchise on the field just yet.
“If it comes down to 18 (teams) I’m not suggesting that it shouldn’t be over there — I think it’s certainly got merit. The Bears are the ones I would like to see back in, Perth is another one that would be an option and Wellington and Christchurch.”

While nothing is for certain, the next television deal that the NRL signs with a New Zealand based network could be the determining factor as to where the NRL’s 18th franchise will be based.
 

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