In general I think the wrong lessons were taken from the 1995 expansion. The prevailing narrative has been that the game can barely support 16 teams in terms of depth and finances, Rugby League failed in Perth and that Brisbane can’t support two or more teams. That’s a Super League and later an NRL Partnership narrative.If Brisbane 2 is a given for team 17, the lessons from 1995 need to be kept in mind for the following steps.
The real lesson is the obvious one - don’t expand by FOUR new teams AT ONCE. There’s nothing wrong with planning for four new teams and nurturing bids in target areas, but at least give it a couple seasons for each new team to get on its feet. Provide some breathing space for each team to build a squad and let the rest of the league and the player pool digest the change.
More realistically, a 17th team followed by an 18th two to three seasons later, followed by a 19th four or five seasons after that, and then a 20th two to three seasons later still gives four need teams in just a decade or so. That’d be ambitious by most measures in top grade professional sport. But four at once was kinda courting trouble…