I can hear you groaning now at the thought of yet more expansion talk but bear with me; this is an expansion article with a difference.
Expansion is going to happen later rather than sooner, but what if we could expand now in the lower grades and set the foundations of expansion clubs three, five or 10 years — prior to them entering the big time?
We’ve got the Perth Pirates, the Central Coast Bears, Brisbane Bombers and Central Queensland all actively wanting to join the NRL, and even a couple more unofficial bids from South East Queensland and New Zealand, so it’s fair to say the NRL has plenty to choose from.
I’ve discussed this previously with another Mitch (he’s on Twitter under the handle @NYCReportLeague. His site discusses the Holden Cup and can be found here) and we both believe the Holden Cup can take a new direction and become a true breeding ground for the NRL — not just in player development, but in club development.
I’m suggesting we grant these fledgling clubs a Holden cup license, with the aim of possible elevation to the NRL level at a later date.
By granting expansion teams a Holden Cup licence, the NRL can slowly entrench the club into the community, develop a fan base and open a clearer pathway for local juniors.
Contrary to popular belief there are actually rugby league players outside of New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand. There are more registered players in Western Australia than there are in Victoria.
With a Holden Cup license, these clubs would have ready-made juniors for an eventual NRL squad and the fan base would already have a connection with these players.
It took the Storm 14 years to get their first born and bred Victorian to debut, but it was seen as the final frontier for many at the club.
Put an extra NYC game on TV, and perhaps make it a mid-week competition. Whatever the choice, it would open up new revenue streams for the competition and increase the next TV deal — and in the long run would probably save the NRL and the expansion teams themselves having the roots of the club set years in advance.
The fallacy of a draft as a leveller.
If we had a draft the Wests Tigers wouldn’t lose James Tedesco, because the draft would —
— oh wait hang on, no it wouldn’t?
A draft? Seriously?
It gets tossed up as a solution to rugby league’s problems every year.
The Tigers actually did their bit and brought through a local junior, but if there was a draft a few years ago Tedesco might have gone to another club!
I don’t know about you but I see a few flaws in this proposal. If we want clubs to have a better chance at keeping juniors they bring through, there needs to be salary cap exemptions from the beginning of their contracts.
Four more years! Four more years! Wait, four more years???
In life we are guaranteed three things: taxes, death and delayed footy on channel 9 but it seems Sunday Afternoon Football will have to become Sunday Twilight Football if we are to see live footy on channel 9 within the next four years.
Steve Crawley was gracious enough on radio to let the public know that Channel 9 — the home of rugby league — would love to show the NRL live IF the NRL schedules the game at 4pm.
Did anyone think of Gus? How would he feel saying “I love my Sunday Twilight Footy”?
The next TV deal will be negotiated in 2017; I’m not the only one counting down the days am I?
Eight Takeaways from Round Three
Tigers v Rabbitohs
Everyone says the game is turning into touch footy. Well, if that’s the case this was the toughest and roughest game of touch I’ve ever seen.
Broncos v Roosters
Not the game I expected but the game I want to keep seeing. The Roosters just know how to win, while the Broncos have to learn how to hold on.
Panthers v Bulldogs
Panthers did what they couldn’t do last week and win in the final minutes.
Sharks v Dragons
Brett Morris with the second greatest try of all time (David Nofoaluma still has the honour).
[Yeah, a try in a meaningless round three is better than an incredible effort to seal a grand final. Perspective, Mitch, perspective… bias also helps — JJ.]
Cowboys v Warriors
The guillotine is put away in Auckland for at least a week, but it seems it wasn’t all Neil Henry’s fault at the Cowboys.
Eagles v Eels
The bounceback factor worked for most of the game, but I thought Jarryd Hayne would be $10,000 lighter in the pocket.
Raiders v Titans
The less said about this game, the better.
Storm v Knights
That tackle will dominate the headines.