NRL Expansion: Perth Bears possible, but Perth prefers own identity

News Limited reports today say Peter Vlandys has plans for Perth to be a big part of the NRLs expansion plans, with the Bears likely to be put forward as the 19th team stationed in the West of the country.

The NRL has established an expansion task force, which includes former Chair Peter Beatty, and is already involved in discussions with the PNG Government and the Anthony Albanese over proposals to establish a team there with government funding.

A decision could be reached as soon as June, but no new team will enter before 2027. The AAP reports that a PNG team is far from assured as most clubs are against it, despite its massive government funding over a decade.

North Sydney executives apparently spoke to the WA Government on Friday, and NRL chiefs have been in touch with key people in the West, including WA Premier Roger Cook.

“We’re looking at an 18th team for 2027 or 2028. It won’t be 2026, it will be either 2027 or 2028, but that date we have to finalise.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Perth might prefer to go it alone, saying that the traditions of the Bears and Jets have no relevance to Perth, and holding some of their matches in NSW to preserve their traditions might not be viewed with great sympathy by the Perth side of the operation.

“It is not our first preference,” Cumins said. “The people involved in the consortium are West Australians who love rugby league and would love to see a stand-alone team in Perth.

“If we had to make a concession, and a partnership was the only way we could do it, then we would look at that, but there are lots of downsides to those arrangements and the integration with people on the other side of the country.”

Cumins said: “West Australians are very parochial”. “The history and traditions of the North Sydney Bears and Newtown Jets have no relevance to anyone in Perth,” he said. “People in Perth would be going, ‘why are we playing games at North Sydney Oval?’”

More at News Limited

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.