This thread is for discussion related to the NRL’s intention to expand the competiton significantly in the next 3 years (by 2026 and 2027).
The ARL Commission is planning to expand the NRL to a 20-team competition in the biggest shake up since the Super League war of the 1990s.
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and Sydney Roosters supremo Nick Politis are behind a $400 million plan that would see rugby league become Australia’s No. 1 football code by the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.
Fox Sports [link]
There are several Bids already seeking entry into the NRL, fighting for potentially 3 spots in the coming years.
After the Northern Eagles went defunct, the North Sydney Bears have continued to field teams in several grades of the NSW rugby league competitions, and were behind the failed Central Coast Bears bid in the mid-2000’s. But the Bears have expressed their intent on eventually returning the brand to the NRL competition. In 2018 they’d explored the possibility of establishing a ‘Western Bears’ franchise based in Perth.
On October 27, 2021, the Bears revealed their intention to return to the NRL, coinciding with a new logo. The proposed franchise, to be known simply as ‘The Bears’, would split home matches between various regional centres as well as major cities that are otherwise currently without NRL representation, allocating between four and six games at a potentially upgraded North Sydney Oval
In October 2008, a Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League NRL bid team was launched with government funding and support. An official website was launched in September 2009 detailing the progress of the PNG bid and its aim to provide social and economic benefits for the country as a whole. The Papua New Guinea Hunters, founded in 2014, have since joined the Queensland Cup and won the 2017 title.
In February 2021, PNG Prime Minister James Marape declared his hopes of an NRL side in the country by 2025.
Since the Western Reds were not included in the NRL’s inaugural season, Perth is the largest Australian city without a team in the competition. Advocates for a Perth-based team have argued it is necessary for the NRL to consider itself a ‘truly national’ competition. The Reds name was revived in 2006 as the WA Reds, competing in the under-18s S.G. Ball Cup with the intention of eventually fielding an NRL side. The team rebranded as the West Coast Pirates in 2012 and continued competing in the S.G. Ball Cup until the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from being able to compete from 2020 onwards. In April 2021, ARLC commissioner Peter Beattie claimed that Western Australia was “years away” from having an NRL team.
WA businessman Tony Sage, who owns A-League club Perth Glory, registered the name West Coast Quokkas in April 2021, as a potential name for a new NRL side in the state.
Former Reds chairman Laurie Puddy has also been invested in reintroducing a Perth-based NRL side. In May 2021, he hit out at the NRL’s prioritisation of a second New Zealand team over a Perth team, calling it “immoral”. In October, he revealed plans to revive the Reds name. He suggested such a team could be ready to begin competing in 2024, the year after the Dolphins are due to begin play, and could also attract crowds of 20,000 at Perth’s HBF Park.
In March 2021, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo suggested an 18th team could be based in New Zealand to create a rivalry with the New Zealand Warriors. So far the sole prospective bidder for a second New Zealand-based team is a resurrected Wellington Orcas bid led by former New Zealand Rugby League chair Andrew Chalmers. The proposed team, potentially under the name ‘Southern Orcas’, would play most home games at Sky Stadium and also take games to Christchurch and Dunedin.
There is an ongoing bid in Fiji for an NRL team. In 2019, whilst visiting Suva Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he would support and fund the bid.
There has always been an ongoing debate about whether the Adelaide Rams should make a return to the NRL, with some even suggesting that the Rams join the NSW Cup before being progressed to the NRL. Supporters for an Adelaide Rams revival have organised online petitions with the aim of generating support for an NRL bid. The South Australian Ministry of Sport, Recreation and Racing have stated that they are actively researching on how to develop an Adelaide NRL franchise.
The North Sydney Bears have not ruled out the possibility of relocating to Adelaide. However, most communications as of 2022 imply that Perth is the club’s area of focus.
Descriptions of bids are sourced from Wikipedia article Expansion of the National Rugby League.