The addition of one or two more teams has been a popular topic in recent years, with many buying into team expansion.
While Brisbane has the population to support another team, I’m not so sure it would be the best move. The Gold Coast is only a drive or train ride away from Brisbane and crowds are an issue there. It’s hard to say whether a new team would attract new supporters or divide Bronco’s supporters, halving memberships and attendances.
Although if this blog has taught me one thing…….. it’s that there are a lot of league fans in Brisbane who hate the Broncos. I believe expansion in Brisbane has to happen, but it would not be my pick for the immediate future.
In my opinion this is not an option. There is simply not enough population to support another team in Regional QLD. The North Queensland Cowboys are exactly that……… North Queensland. The Cowboys are supported by much of the North, with many of their supporters travelling several hours to attend home games.
I believe we need to look to expansion outside of QLD and NSW, Western Australia and South Australia may be the option. Every capital city should have a team before we look elsewhere.
I also think Darwin could successfully host a team, however I believe the heat may be an issue up there. There is also Tasmania who heavily support AFL even though they do not have a team in the competition.
While the Western Reds and Adelaide Rams were once alive in Rugby League, I think under the current leadership the NRL can make the expansion a success. Lets make National Rugby League exactly that…………NATIONAL
The real solution and challenge is building a team that is part of the community. Wind the clock back 20+years when the world was a smaller place. Players worked and lived in the community they represented. With players rarely changing clubs, they were a real representation of the community.
This invokes passion even from those with little interest in the sport, much the same as many people come out of the woods for Origin. How many people get behind an Olympic sport purely because the Athlete is Australian? Or barrack for a team, because a player is from their hometown?
Do We Need Expansion
Honestly do we need to expand, is it worth the capital and the risk?
I see so much room for improvement within existing clubs, should we try clean up the street or start with our own backyard. We should be investing in our existing game base and ensuring a stable platform before expanding. The NRL is already doing this with securing Stadium upgrades at Parramatta and ANZ.
We need to continue to stabilise our current clubs before going after new markets.