Ok so with the 17th club all done and dusted this bastion of expansion debate and opinion can cast its eyes further afield and start the arguments of who should be club 18!
The addition of the Dolphins as the 17th team will almost certainly spark more expansion talks, with the NRL said to be open to the prospect of adding further franchises to its competition in the future.
It is unlikely there will be further additions before the next broadcast deal expires at the end of 2028 but the NRL is said to be keen on adding an 18th team in the coming years.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said rugby league was on track for growth after a period of consolidation due to the impact of COVID-19.
"A move from 16 to 17 is a big move," Abdo said. "We want a team that can compete from day one and we want to make sure the team is financially viable. We want this to be incredibly successful.
"Equally we will have consideration to eventually moving from 17 to 18. I don't know what that timeline looks like. That will be a factor of the success of the 17th team and a factor of which market is right, and whether the economics stack up.
But 17 is a natural stepping stone to 18. At 18 we have another fixture and that provides another opportunity for our fans, another 80 minutes of footy, another match in the round, another opportunity to grow fans in another market."
Perth's best option might be to saddle up with the Ipswich Jets or Easts Tigers.My thinking is a lot will depend on how the nrl financially travels over next couple of years. We know the current leadership is a very conservative, risk averse mentality which would point to the likelihood of another heartland club in queensland. If sky throw big money at them then that might be the motivator for a second nz team. Or if leadership changes in next few years or the nrl keeps operating a surplus they may decide to invest in growing the game into new markets and link up with the interested backers in perth to start work on a new club here. We would realistically need 3-4 years to build a club from scratch, as would nz2 I suspect.
It will come down to what the broadcasters want. If they decide that Bris 3 will draw higher ratings on FTA than a team in Perth or NZ 2 then that's what they will fund.The realistic options are:
Brisbane 3 / QLD 5
Perth is the biggest un-serviced market out of that list and makes the most sense.
NZ2 would be a smaller market but has the player pathways and potential Sky money going for it
Adelaide won't happen before Perth
Brisbane 3 probably shouldn't happen until significant population growth happens, if ever
Then he needs to be talking to them whilst we have a massive budget surplus and a Newcastle kid in charge!
In my experience the egos of two owners usually causes problems unless they are mates or already business partners. There sense in a perth club have a feeder arrangement with a intrust cup side, especially for jnr elite level but can’t see a joint ownership on opposite sides of the country working.Perth's best option might be to saddle up with the Ipswich Jets or Easts Tigers.
If News Ltd and the Broncos are still dictating expansion then they won't want a competitor from inner-city Brisbane that will cater to the south-side of the river. That rules the Firehawks out.
If I was the Broncos I would amalgamate with Easts Tigers. Keep the Broncos brand, but change the colour scheme to predominantly gold with a black trim. Having Easts Leagues under the Broncos banner would create an extra revenue stream right in the heart of Brisbane Lions territory.
If I was the Perth bid I would want Easts to have a 50% stake in the club. Richardson said he wanted the Firehawks brand to be national. They could do this by having a base in Brisbane and Perth. Having a link with Brisbane might help the club draw a decent following in the area, like the Storm did in the 90s and 00s.