Yesterday I revealed an article on rugby league stadiums, and urged that groups ought to mix their efforts to construct just a few good stadiums to cut back prices and supply higher amenities for gamers and followers alike.
What I uncared for to say, nonetheless, as that these items will in all probability by no means occur.
With so few golf equipment having robust non-public monetary backing, and a tradition of rampant tribalism the place suggesting groups share amenities induces suits of fan rage, it might be extraordinarily troublesome to implement regardless of the numerous sensible advantages.
This leads into my second suggestion on the right way to repair rugby league – and this can undoubtedly make folks offended.
The NRL must both relocate groups, or to cut back them. Now clearly constructing a bunch of stadiums and shifting groups round are largely mutually unique workout routines, so these could be thought of as unbiased choices, somewhat than parallel efforts.
The very fact is that Sydney has too many groups. The town’s inhabitants, mixed with fierce competitors from two high quality AFL sides and a football-mad West (overlook the Waratahs, let’s be actual – rugby union is dying), make the ceiling for the expansion of rugby league within the space far decrease than if the competitors was extra unfold out over the nation.
So right here is my second proposal: a 14-team competitors the place everybody performs one another twice, with the League reverting to a prime six.
The Titans are faraway from the competitors, as a result of everyone knows that the Gold Coast is the place sports activities groups go to die. With the Sharks in perpetual monetary bother, they’re prime candidates to both be relegated to the NSW Cup, or merge with the Dragons to develop into a Shire/Illawarra regional staff.
As beforehand talked about, the Tigers transfer out to Campbelltown completely. With the Macarthur area to have an estimated half one million folks in 25 years’ time, they’ll afford to have their very own staff.
With Parramatta’s new floor, the Roosters being the NRL’s glam membership and the Rabbitohs going via sufficient for the final 20 years (and being a founding membership), these groups can stay the place they’re. Penrith additionally has a complete area to itself, so it’s nice.
This leaves Manly and the Bulldogs, one in all whom would go to Brisbane to steadiness the market with the Broncos, and one would head to Perth, the place there are not any main rugby golf equipment of both code – and the place greater than 38,000 folks turned up for the double header in the beginning of final season.
The starvation is there in each cities.
“However these golf equipment have a lot historical past and may by no means go away Sydney. They’re MY membership,” I hear you say.
Effectively, instances have modified. The competitors is not beginner and the sport is just too massive. Groups have grown effectively and really past their native suburbs, and are competing in a saturated market.
One thing has to provide, and both the sport will plateau or groups have to go away to create some room to breathe.
Take a look at South Melbourne, or the Fitzroy Lions within the AFL. Each had lengthy, although not so fairly, histories and so they left Melbourne in extraordinarily ugly and painful trend.
Take a look at them now, although, with safe fan-bases and a number of premierships between them. They’re photographs of merging and relocation accomplished proper.
Sadly, in a rugby league tradition so resistant to vary and that adheres to a wonderful previous, the sport dangers withering away into oblivion if nothing is finished. It is not going to be fairly, however is totally obligatory to make sure the survival of the sport.
The subsequent article on this collection may also be concerning the monetary state of the sport and the way the NRL must cease promoting its soul to Channel 9 and betting corporations.