NRL Expansion Discussion

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Gee, if it wasn’t for my grey beard, that could be me on the right hand side of that bottom photo :rofl:

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…and now Adelaide have joined the discussion…

With all due respect to Adelaide, they are not likely to sell out at the Adelaide Oval for State of Origin, I’m not sure that bodes well for a potential team in Adelaide anytime soon.

…and to be frank, the NRL is to blame. While success on the field didn’t come for the Rams they had a strong attendance rate, a strong membership (relative to the market size), and were financially solid. But when the big shrink (NRL Rationalisation) happened, 20 became 14 by the year 2000, and the NRL all but abandoned the SA market. AFL didn’t waste time taking back their slice of the pie.

While I wouldn’t mind SA in the NRL again, I don’t think it will be in the next expansion phase.


Agreed, I think they are way down the list at this point in time.

One correction Steve, if you add SL and ARL together in ‘97 there were 22 teams.

I always thought the Rams were pretty successful in their two years, and like you say a pity they were abandoned and the Storm progressed.

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That’s true.

Though I was referring to the teams in the NRL era. In 1998, South Queensland Crushers, Western Reds and Hunter Mariners were already issued their marching orders before the formation of the NRL (and the Melbourne Storm added of course).

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I feel the smartest move by the NRL would be to announce 3 teams a part of a roadmap to a 20 team competition.

Bring one in next year or 2025, and then allow the other two teams to enter in 2026. It allow for them to set up operations, sign players and give them the best change of success.

If it were me I would go with Western Australia in 2024/2025, and PNG + 1 more team in 2026/2027.


Yes, and get the 2 other new team to play in NSW/QLD cup in the seasons prior to warm them in

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It’s probably getting a bit late to get a new team for next year, but 2025 would give enough time to set things up.

I’d probably still leave it a few years before 19 & 20 are added, but no later than 2030. These teams could also be announced at the same time as 18, but as has been suggested, play them in NSW Cup or QLD Cup until they are promoted.

As I said earlier in this thread, my preference would be Perth (preferably reviving Western Reds logo) as the 18th team.

Central Coast Bears & Ipswich Jets to be next, by about 2030. Both are already in their state leagues, and have been working towards admission, so it would give them some certainty moving forward in relation to sponsorship, signings & junior development.

Had an interesting conversation with one of my passengers yesterday regarding the possibility of a promotion & relegation system.

His thoughts specifically were around breaking up the Wests Tigers & St George-Illawarra mergers to bring back all 4 clubs, and readmitting Norths & Newtown.

While I would be open to the idea, I don’t think the game is ready for a promotion/relegation system at this stage.


While I’m sure it would have great nostalgic value it offers very little in strategic value to the expansion effort.

Adding another NSW side to the mix isn’t the answer to expansion, we should be looking outside the confines of NSW for new teams to be honest.

Western Australia and PNG have benefits for expansion not only in broadcast opportunities but financial incentives from state and federal governments

Not sure what benefit bringing back Illawarra, Western Suburbs, Balmain and St George would bring except for making some people nostalgic for the past.

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Personally I think the West Tigers merger was a bad idea from the start. Both clubs were failing miserably, and apart from a few good seasons early., they have continued to be a failure. The South West Sydney region does need a team, but I feel allowing the Bulldogs to expand into that area, and having one club cover the entire South West corridor, would be better then what they have at the moment.

Some good points regarding the Tigers. Though it’s a problem that can be remedied without deserving the club.

I think that the Western Suburbs part of the club launch a takeover of the club and relocate them to Campbelltown.

I agree the South West is poorly serviced by the club and the area is losing ground to both A-League and the AFL. It’s time the make it their home and get the government to pump some money into upgrading Campbelltown Stadium.

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Random thought…

With East Brisbane Tigers looking to make a bid, perhaps break up the Wests Tigers merger, and have Balmain join with East Brisbane, playing a few games a year at Leichhardt.

Wests Magpies then merge with Bulldogs to create Western Bulldogs :thinking:

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