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A wider approach to Expansion

IzmirZaferi

Juniors
Messages
4
We tend to talk about NRL expansion but it seems increasingly evident to me that there are too many opportunities for the Top Teir of the game to engage any time soon.

As such, I think the ARLC and NRL should make a clear intention and promotion of multi-tiered expansion with the NRL the pinnacle of ALL Austral-Asian Rugby League. It is time to shake off the Australian centred approach.

For me, here are my thoughts for a wider approach toward expansion.

Note: the specifics are mainly related to Males but a parallel approach should be done for the Women's game.

GLOBALISED NRL - The NRL brand should be adopted globally as the face of professional RL atleast with Europe and Oceania. Super League should adopt the NRL brand with other cooperative movements.

In general, nothing much should change except, the Grand finalists should play the champion of the other competition two weeks after the GF. This will likely increase the interest across the competitions in the other as fans anticipate who their team may come up against if they win the GF.

This can help in terms of the global perception of our game, increasing possibilities in terms of global TV contracts and sponsors. Our disadvantage in having only two major professional comps can be turned into an advantage in terms of coordination.

The NRL Brand including NRL could then possibly soon cover up to 8 nations (see below)

NRL Expansion - KEY YEAR 2024

2024 - West Coast Bears - the NRL should foster this.

The reemergence of a traditional eastern brand rebirthed in the West. This should be majority owned at an NRL level by interests in the West but 25 percent should be held by Norths or affiliated groups.

Bears fans in Sydney should then be able to buy a SYDNEY SEASON TICKET for Sydney games. This will facilitate the reengagement with two population and supporter bases. The Red and Black hoops as away colours with a yellow dash for Home games honours both traditions. This will also build a strong national appeal with fans, sponsors and government.

2024 - the emergence on MULTI - CITY TEAMS. It is constantly clear the struggle Rugby League has between our traditional Sydney base and other opportunities.

As such, some of the population or geographically 'locked' teams should essentially be forced into a broader base. This HAS worked for AFL clubs and it can work with the NRL. It would be facilitated by additional funding to each team - at a rate of 250 thousand per game (this would also go hand in hand with local RL engagement and agreement)

For instance... (suggestions)

Each of these being established by minimum ten year agreements with Governments, Local Stadia, NRL and Local RL organisations.

Reasoning, one of the key drivers of TV investment is driving Pay TV subscription. By engaging these markets on a more limited regard it will mean a need for local fans to buy into Pay TV to watch them more often. It will also increase TV ratings through broader ownership of the team.

- Southern Sharks - Cronulla based - playing 4 - 5 games out of Adelaide - the branding affinity is really good and consistent.

At present Sharks have a fan base of a measly 224,000 despite having a great general brand and feel. Why? simply they are geograpically and demographically surrounded. Broadening their appeal to South Australia gives them the potential engage with 1.7 million potential fans. Even if only a quarter consider themselves 'casual fans' in surveys, this would increase the Sharks reach, which affects sponsorship by nearly 500 thousand. Even with an average of ten thousand fans at games, this would be ten thousand NEW fans buying merchandise, watching games on TV etc.

- Easts Roosters - Sydney based - 4 games out of Central Coast (this may be that hardest move with a new stadium but engagement with CC is important)

Similar to the Sharks, the Roosters have a strong but small core fan base. Their advantage has always been relative wealth and good management but they could quickly extend their fan base and particularly junior base by taking Central Coast under wing.

The transition to Easts would be an ironic back to the future move as they broaden their appeal whilst emphasising tradition.

- Sea Eagles - Wellington - Sea Eagles - moving four games to Wellington with ten year agreement.

I believe NZ to be more open to partial moves and Sydney clubs can move their games against Warriors and small drawing QLD team games to NZ (such as Titans, NQ and possibly Dolphins).

Rugby / League in NZ is driven in many ways by the aspiration to play professional footy. This can be enhanced by the permanent presence of a team with prestigious history.

- CB Bulldogs - Bulldogs - 4 games - there is a practical affinity in name and some history. The loss of games can be made up to a degree by a suggestion coming.

Other location possibilities - I would REQUIRE a minimum of 20,000 capacity facilities. This would also help drive region and nation investment.

Port Moresby - PNG - immediate City - 400, 000 however national population approach 10 million.
Darwin - Parra presently plays here.
Hobart - Melbourne should be required to play atleast one game. Greater Hobart - 238 thousand.
Cairns - already plans for 20 thousand seat stadium. A good plan could crush AFL hopes.
Fiji is a possibility but lacks a suitable stadium. However government engagement may help.

NRL CONFERENCE SYSTEM

A simply geographic conference division can be played virtually identically each year encouraging tradition.

Sydney and National. (name them - maybe Messenger and Churchill)

9 teams each - each conference Home and Away for first past the post shield before playing every team in the other conference before entering the finals series. This would admittedly open the door for a later expansion to 20 with Newcastle or Canberra moving into Sydney conference.

From a Sydney perspective, there is advantage in that SYDNEY WIDE Season tickets could be sold increasing attendance, a travelling fan base locally and ensuring teams that become Multi-City teams could still get more games in their city than teams from outside Sydney. For instance, Sharks fans may give four games up retaining 8 primary home games but would then have rights to up to 7 other local Sydney games.

From a National perspective, there is advantage in the NATIONAL sense of the game as more than a suburban game. This would also foster a new rivalry sense between cities.
 
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IzmirZaferi

Juniors
Messages
4
PART TWO


NRL 2 - the 'QLD Cup' and 'NSW Cup' need to change for the long term better. Now hear me out. QRL and NSWRL should still administer the competitions as conferences of a wider NRL HOWEVER the comp could be widened.

To honour QLD, NSW and other regions the team would have their regional RL name under their Badge.

Creating a special competition.

Newtown has shown, given the right focus a different Rugby League environment can be created.

NRL 2- Northern Conference - 12 teams


NRL 2 - Southern Conference
- 12 teams

Here is my controversial point, possibly.

NRL 2 - New Zealand / Pacific Conference - 8 initial teams

The initial difference would be that the NZ champions would enter the Southern Conference finals rather than cross over normally.

I would aim to add, given appropriate funding, Fiji to here not NSW and add a representative Tongan and Samoan team, even if based mainly out of Auckland.

Auckland Vulcans
Auckland 2 -
Hamilton
Wellington
Canterbury
Fiji Silvertails - solely drawn from Fiji
Tonga - seeking to leverage support in Tonga and Tongan RL community in NZ.
Samoa - seeking to leverage support in Samoa and Samoan RL community in NZ

NZ and the Pacific Islands I believe are driven by different factors in 'Rugby' popularity. The rise of Tongan RL has been testament to that and we need recognise this in opening larger fan and player bases in this region. Making the Pacific Conference on equal footing as part of the NRL 2 will also give an attractive option for general 'Rugby' players in the region.

NRL 2 FINALS would simply have the top from North and South and the top 2 from the Pacific Conference come together for the finals series.
 

IzmirZaferi

Juniors
Messages
4
PART 3

REGIONAL AREAS


In the discussion around expansion, inevitably regional areas arise. The key issue at the end of the day is the higher tiers of the game require larger bases and crowds should never really dip below 20 thousand in the future.

That all said, NRL 2 can engage some of these BUT... all regions should be directly linked with NRL clubs as part of clear pathways for players and fans creating cross engagement strategies.

ie. Parramatta can play in Darwin, for instance but the relationship need be made tighter. The NTRL backing of EELS as the NT team and Parra promoting and supporting the entry of an NT team into a NRL 2, leveraging their fan base to see every Parra fan following the NT in NRL2 thus increasing everyones fanbase, supporters watching the NRL and NRL 2 etc.

In NSW and QLD in particular all Groups should have a single direct NRL pathway. In return for investment of some kind, every junior, for instance in Dubbo could see themselves as a "Roosters Junior". This could be fairly easily facilitated with cross promotion.


NOT FINISHED...

There are options for alternative expansion of Rugby League that need be considered and could be leveraged.

ARENA RUGBY LEAGUE
- indoor summer 5 - 6 aside. Fun, family, take on Soccer and Basketball in the Summer. As an alternative approach, the game could still be quite different with the key RL elements of the Play the ball, passing and defensive line retain but bringing in other innovations for the indoor environment.

LEAGUE TAG AND TOUCH RUGBY LEAGUE need be continually subsumed into our game again.

At present if a 10 year old kid wants to play a 'football' sport, he or she often has the choice between RL, RU, AFL and Soccer.

Tackle may be the pinnacle professional form of our game but in participation it should sit side by side with the other forms.

If ten year old "bobby" wants to play RL he should be able to play Touch Rugby League INSTEAD of Tackle or Union, AFL or Soccer. This could possibly be logistically achieved in many locations by playing the two forms on the same day between teams and / or playing in smaller teams mid week.

Due to the entrance of many larger players from Island backgrounds, which is great for our game many are wary of letting their kids play and as such they move into what they believe to be safer alternatives with Soccer and AFL. We can't underestimate the negative effect of this over time.

By affirming Touch or Tag as REAL Rugby League, just a variety, we are likely more able to get these kids to transition to the Tackle form at a later point or atleast see themselves as part of the RL family.



I am sure it all needs refining and some may disagree but why? and What do you think can be done to engage the many expansion opportunities our game has.

 

MugaB

First Grade
Messages
6,219
All pretty good points except for the conferences... the disparity between an non sydney based team in regards to travel, tv broadcasting, and general bias from rival clubs, makes a "regional conference" moot
The upside is that "Sydney conference" get to travel by bus anywhere with in an hour, and barely has to go anywhere, this will create an issue in regards to talent as the better clubs will draw better players purely coz they are insignificantly fresher in comparison to the regional clubs... this is a domino effect, that basically draws back to the nswrl having money via pokies and buying the best BRL talent... making the gap in quality in competitions huge...

HOMEBUSH STADIUM is the centre of the NRL as far as Sydney geographically and is used primarily for the Grand Final/s...
This locality marketed correctly, sets the stage not only for finals and larger events WC, SoO etc... but should be the geographical border between two north and south conferences..
If you are a club north of homebush stadium, northern conference you go...
Club beneath it ...of to the Southern Conference.. can use Parramatta rd as the borderline really...

You don't like the conference you're in tough shit, or relocate elsewhere to enter the other. A team like tigers needs to choose campbelltown or leichardt, roosters might want to play in the northern conference so become North Sydney Roosters etc... other teams might move to Adelaide or Central Coast.

But 20 teams is enough, play Home & Away in your conference, then verse the other 10 in the other conference. That's 28 rounds and pretty fair as far as who has to play who however many times... you're stuck in that conference and sheduling becomes more insync, rivalries are more on show, due to neighbouring clubs or just QLD derbies etc.

Perth and PNG is northern, Adelaide and NZ2 is southern, as far as geographical plotting of future expansion bids, so the NRL can take bids based on which conference slot needs filling.

Then top 4 from each enter the finals, thats it, no special seperate GFs none of that, the top 8 finals system is fine, if you want a special minor premiership trophy for each thats easy, but after 28 rounds of regular season rugby league, keeping it simple for the remaining games is the way to go... and no byes during origin, play your juniors, these are the games clubs should use to blood their crop...
 
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Colk

Bench
Messages
4,103
It is a very detailed plan and I can see that have you put a lot of thought into it. I agree with a strong emphasis on tag/touch football at a young age. The benefit would be not just keeper young kids who may develop later interested in playing the game it might also teach them greater skill by developing passing and greater game awareness and evasive. I would add weight divisions as something further if they wish to play tackle.

I like your idea of a national second grade divided into conferences. The way you would do it in my opinion would be to have any of the NRL sides linked in at least in Sydney, so you have Balmain, Newtown, North Sydney, Western Suburbs, Wentworthville, Mounties, Illawarra, maybe Bathurst etc) Qld Cup division wouldn’t change much.

Where I differ is perhaps the Pacific Island. Ideally it would work and it would be amazing if it did but would we have the money to fund something like this. I often think a good way to do it is to have a certain number of international development spaces open for clubs that way you can push clubs to invest in Pacific Islands or American athletes or whomever.

Another thing is you have to have full relocation in most cases. For example you talked about the potential of the Southen Sharks playing a few games in Adelaide. Wouldn’t it be better play all of their home games and some of their ‘away’games at Shark Park. I would also prefer somebody like Manly playing half their games at CC. I think NZ would really want a second side rather than a few games here and there
 

MugaB

First Grade
Messages
6,219
No club will move on it own valition, so no point discussing which club would take on however many games in Wellington or Adelaide etc, better to set up the conference so that they will encite them to cheat their way into relocations, like i said, very easy to add "North" onto Sydney Roosters, and move conference, if you think you have a better conference draw...

Plus spitting up the teams through sydney means everyone travels everywhere. Theres no advantage or disadvantage. Its fair

Northern Conference

Cowboys.
Dolphins.
Broncos.
Titans.
Knights.
SeaEagles.
Tigers. (Concord, but can swap)
Eels.
Panthers.

Southern Conference
Rabbitohs.
Roosters.
Bulldogs.
Sharks.
Dragons.
Warriors.
Raiders.
Storm.

Add Adelaide, Nz2, Perth, PNG, Qld5, CC or whoever to any of these to make up the 20 team, 10 each team conference
 

Perth Red

Post Whore
Messages
52,817
Just don’t hold back expansion because some clubs can’t keep up. If they end up having to drop back then so be it. OR accept this isn’t socialism and that some clubs are always going to be wealthier than others and have an afl variable grant system so no team is left behind as expansion pushes forward.
 
Messages
12,898
Just don’t hold back expansion because some clubs can’t keep up. If they end up having to drop back then so be it. OR accept this isn’t socialism and that some clubs are always going to be wealthier than others and have an afl variable grant system so no team is left behind as expansion pushes forward.
I thought Greenburg sent out warning shots to all clubs years ago for "not keeping up"
 

Colk

Bench
Messages
4,103
Exactly Perth Red there’s no reason why Brisbane and the Roosters should get the same grant as Newcastle or the Gold Coast
 

Diesel

Coach
Messages
17,414
The ideas of having a NRL global brand is a smart one.
Super League is a terrible name for the European/UK game. Sounds like a second tier competition or the name is tarnished from the 90’s SL Wars.

Also, Sydney shouldn’t have its own conference, the idea above to draw a line on Parramatta Rd and Homebush being the NRL equator is a smart idea
 

MugaB

First Grade
Messages
6,219
The ideas of having a NRL global brand is a smart one.
Super League is a terrible name for the European/UK game. Sounds like a second tier competition or the name is tarnished from the 90’s SL Wars.

Also, Sydney shouldn’t have its own conference, the idea above to draw a line on Parramatta Rd and Homebush being the NRL equator is a smart idea
Thanks diesel, been trying to come up different scenarios as the best conference set ups, and homebush being the centre of rugby league existence in the NRL seemed to work out, and like you said "NRL EQUATOR" due to the match ups in sydney rivals/neighbours and that the divide was a simple and easy line to draw being parra rd is stretched halfway through the whole city and homebush "ANZ" stadium is on it.
Means Qld teams see each other more often, and Sydney based sides aren't getting the over advantage of not travelling interstate.
 
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Colk

Bench
Messages
4,103
Wasn’t their talk at one stage of the NRL actually buying a majority stake in the Super League? It would be interesting if they did this as you could see a merging of the brand and you could also arrange the scheduling so that it would be possible for top British/NRL players to be loaned out to teams to each competition which would improve the standard of each competition and promote greater interest in both
 

T-Boon

Coach
Messages
14,069
Arena RL is a good idea.
7 aside on a hockey size field.
It would be good head to head with T20 which I would like to see put to sleep.
Even basketball has that 3 per side version.
What indoor arena is that that could have a hockey size field?
 

Perth Red

Post Whore
Messages
52,817
The ideas of having a NRL global brand is a smart one.
Super League is a terrible name for the European/UK game. Sounds like a second tier competition or the name is tarnished from the 90’s SL Wars.

Also, Sydney shouldn’t have its own conference, the idea above to draw a line on Parramatta Rd and Homebush being the NRL equator is a smart idea
It was of its time and whilst it might be despised here it was a massive improvement for rl in uk and just a shame that it couldn’t hold its momentum from those early years.

I would love to see some common branding for RL though globally. Can’t use nrl as makes no sense in context for comps that are multi national. Maybe just the region plus rl eg ERL, ARL, PRL, NARL etc with same logo and branding? A bit like what nrl did across the different comps in Australia.
 

MugaB

First Grade
Messages
6,219
It was of its time and whilst it might be despised here it was a massive improvement for rl in uk and just a shame that it couldn’t hold its momentum from those early years.

I would love to see some common branding for RL though globally. Can’t use nrl as makes no sense in context for comps that are multi national. Maybe just the region plus rl eg ERL, ARL, PRL, NARL etc with same logo and branding? A bit like what nrl did across the different comps in Australia.
Maybe calling it something simple...
Mmmmmmm
SUPER LEAGUE anyone?
 

Travitoh

Bench
Messages
4,991
It is time to shake off the Australian East Coast centred approach.
Fixed it for you.

As an Adelaidian, i hate the idea of a part-time team in the city and I'm pretty confident that the wider sport supporting public would only show part-time interest in them at most.

4th highest average crowd in SL at 15k playing at Adelaide Oval. Historically average higher crowds than Perth, Penrith, Cronulla and Norths. Averaged 2000 more supporters at games than Souths in 1998.

Adelaide gets behind it's sporting teams. Don't disrespect us by treating us as a holiday destination for the team.
 

Colk

Bench
Messages
4,103
Before we expand further, you’ll also need to completely overhaul the player market system as well because we are going to have a few second grade sides running around
 

Perth Red

Post Whore
Messages
52,817
Before we expand further, you’ll also need to completely overhaul the player market system as well because we are going to have a few second grade sides running around
There’s a simple solution to that but it would take a massive culture shift in rugby league thinking. Allow the new club salary cap dispensation to sign players from outside the current nrl squads for at least 5 years. attracting the best ESL, union, union playing league Players and second tier talent taking the pressure off the current pool. But RL is extremely socialist and loves perpetuating the myth that all teams are equal and it’s a fair competition.
 

Colk

Bench
Messages
4,103
There’s a simple solution to that but it would take a massive culture shift in rugby league thinking. Allow the new club salary cap dispensation to sign players from outside the current nrl squads for at least 5 years. attracting the best ESL, union, union playing league Players and second tier talent taking the pressure off the current pool. But RL is extremely socialist and loves perpetuating the myth that all teams are equal and it’s a fair competition.

It’s a massive myth. I think it extends beyond the 17th or 18th side though. There is a massive false economy in a salary cup, just today you are led to believe that the Dolphins have to fork out $1.4 million to get Kayln Ponga whilst Roosters can keep Joey Manu for under $500k less

I think you do have to give dispensation of some kind to the new club but if a draft is impossible there has to be an added mechanism attached to the draft whether it is a notional value or a points system or even a cap on what you can spend on players outside your club and a soft cap on players you have developed.

It’s time to throw some ideas around because an increased and continual gap between the same sides loses viewership and makes the argument for further expansion a lot harder
 

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