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Would you support only four teams in Sydney??

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Central Coast Eagle, May 24, 2008.

  1. Central Coast Eagle

    Central Coast Eagle Active Member

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    Sydney clubs killing the game?
    By Brent Read
    May 24, 2008 LITTLE more than a decade after the advent of Super League, rugby league is again ripe for the picking.

    While interstate clubs, notably Brisbane and the Gold Coast, are flourishing, the game's traditional home is under siege and stubbornly refusing to heed the warning of NRL chief executive David Gallop, who insists clubs may die unless things change.

    Sydney clubs would prefer to blame the New South Wales Government, and its poker machine tax, for their plight. They would rather flog a horse that shows no signs of life than contemplate the more realistic alternative - relocate or merge, a concept that led to rancour during Super League and its aftermath.

    Gallop isn't the only prominent NRL identity suggesting Sydney clubs are in danger. Gold Coast coach John Cartwright promoted the idea of a 12-team competition recently in a magazine column, claiming that Sydney should be divided into four zones.

    In effect, Sydney clubs are holding back the game. They are holding earning capacity of players because they can't afford to pay more money, something that has resulted in superstars Mark Gasnier and Sonny Bill Williams looking overseas for opportunities.

    They are holding back the game's exposure on a national level by refusing to contemplate relocation.

    Behind the scenes, an undercurrent of support is growing for the game to revisit expansion at the expense of overcrowding in Sydney. Most won't say it publicly, but some chief executives privately believe the only way to grow the pie is to make the game truly national.

    That means returning to Adelaide and Perth, two clubs sacrificed in the wake of the Super League peace deal. It means putting a plan in place and sticking to it. It means leaving financially stricken Sydney clubs with three choices: Merge, relocate or die.

    It's not a new idea, but it resonates more than ever as Sydney clubs grumble about the unfair situation created by the NSW Government.

    The NRL held a two-day conference with chief executives this week at which they discussed their plight and bounced around ideas to raise revenue. What came out of it? It appears very little.

    The game still has no direction. It doesn't know where it will be next year, let alone in five years. The AFL has plans to move into western Sydney and the Gold Coast, with timetables in place. Super 14 is talking about expanding its product and lengthening its season. The A-League, still in its infancy, is looking to add clubs in Queensland and possibly elsewhere.

    "At the moment the game is under threat more in Sydney than anywhere else," Brisbane chief executive Bruno Cullen said of rugby league.

    "That's one issue. The other threats that are coming to our game are the other truly national codes - the AFL and soccer, and to a lesser extent rugby union. They can get the big money for sponsorship and television revenue because they are national."

    Rugby league, on the other hand, is preoccupied with the survival of Sydney clubs when the answer lies elsewhere. With the NRL locked into long-term television contracts with the Nine Network and Fox Sports, there will be no sudden influx of money. That means, unlike the AFL, the NRL can't afford to prop up ailing clubs. Against that backdrop, frustration grows outside Sydney, a mood which led to the Super League revolution in 1995, which in turn led to a split competition in 1997.

    "When you strategise you have to know where you're at to know where you're going," Melbourne Storm chief executive Brian Waldron said.

    "What I do know is there is a team called the Sydney Roosters that from my understanding has less players participating in rugby league at junior and senior level than we do in Melbourne.

    "There are two teams in (southern Sydney) and surrounding areas (Cronulla and St George Illawarra) that arguably are sharing a low potential supporter base. That's just my perception.

    "The reality is you have to get some research to determine where you're going. There will be some research that will tell you there's some markets that you can generate enormous revenue in outside of Sydney, or it may just be rationalisation."

    Waldron, who comes from an AFL background, advocates increased ground-sharing among the Sydney clubs, as is the case in Melbourne, where the AFL sides play most of their games at either the MCG or Telstra Dome. Waldron also supports the NRL leveraging stadium officials to get better deals for its clubs.

    Another option for cash-strapped Sydney clubs could lie with privatisation, a concept which has taken hold at the Warriors, South Sydney and Manly.

    Each of those clubs survives thanks to wealthy benefactors - Eric Watson at the Warriors, Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court at the Rabbitohs, and Max Delmege and Scott Penn at the Sea Eagles.

    "We have the private ownership model in the game now," said Wests Tigers chief executive Steve Noyce, who has managed to operate his club with minimal to no leagues club support. "That's something the game hasn't had a lot of. That's possibly something people need to look at as well."

    Manly chief executive Grant Mayer said any rugby league investor needed to understand there wouldn't be significant returns, a fact borne out at Souths where Holmes a Court and Crowe lost $4 million in their first year.

    Sea Eagles co-owner Delmege, who bought a share in the club in 2001, is only now starting to realise the benefit of his investment - and only because he is starting to understand the power of the club's brand.

    "Private ownership has got to realise that owning a football club is not about making money -- it's about other opportunities," Mayer said. "It took Max Delmege six years to see some opportunities for himself after pouring so much money into the club."

    As for the future of Sydney clubs, Mayer said: "The danger is the costs involved with running a footy club are growing - and revenues aren't.

    "Clubs have to find new ways to make money. If you're competing with seven other clubs in Sydney, that's a big ask.

    "I have no doubt the dark cloud hanging over the game is 100 per cent accurate.

    "Literally, a club could fall over within 12 months. I think it would be a wise club to act before its forced upon them and relocate now."

    The NRL is conscious of the benefits of expansion, and $8 million remains on the table for a club which packs up and moves.

    South Australian Rugby League general manager Bruce Walker, who won a premiership with Manly in 1978 and toured with Australia that same year, has been lobbying clubs to move games to Adelaide, a city he says is crying out for the NRL.

    Like his West Australian counterpart Bill Nosworthy, who wants a team in Perth, Walker believes Adelaide would have sufficient corporate support to back a side.

    Initially, he advocates a partial move involving a side potentially playing six games in Adelaide and six at its Sydney home.

    To support that bid, he endorses the NRL offering $4 million - half the $8 million on offer for a complete move - to a club which plays half its home games in South Australia.

    A partial move would then be the precursor to a club permanently basing itself in Adelaide, and also Perth, by the time the next television deal begins in 2013.

    "They could really test the waters by doing that - six games down here and six games at home," Walker said. "You would get a lot of sponsors to be involved in that. You would make money."

    NRL chief executive David Gallop questions the benefits of a side playing half its game interstate. Asked whether the NRL would consider putting $4 million on the table for a club that partially relocated, with a view to permanently moving its base, Gallop said: "Partial relocation is problematic. We would really prefer a complete move to a new area. But we have got an open mind on any proposal."

    Gallop is reluctant to force Sydney clubs to move, although he understands the benefits of a national competition.

    "The game has been through incredible turmoil," Gallop said in reference to the Super League war. "We have just added a team (Gold Coast) which is successful. We're not interested in a race to get dots on a map.

    "We will be in new places in the short- to medium-term but it's not the time to be putting more pressure on our existing clubs by adding teams.

    "We would love to be in places like Perth and Adelaide, but the local game is not ready.

    "It's not like it was in the AFL where they had thriving competitions.

    "We're building towards it and there will be a point where we can consider those areas."

    Even if it wants to, the NRL is unable to force clubs to relocate under the terms of their current licence agreements.

    As such, clubs need to move of their own volition, something Cullen says would benefit the game immeasurably by producing greater sponsorship revenue, which in turn would be drip fed back to the clubs.

    "All this talk about rationalisation is not about getting more money in the pool, it's about survival," Cullen said.

    Waldron is even more emphatic.

    "I have been on record since the day I walked into this business, when I heard David Hill (former head of sport at Channel Nine and now a heavy-hitter with Fox Sports in the US) at my first ever chief executives conference say we had the best television product in the world in sport," Waldron said.

    "I have said right from the start the only reason we don't generate more money than our competitors is because we're not truly a national game.

    "Rationalise the Sydney clubs and make it a national game. Make it a national game and you'll stop having to worry. We're not talking about now, we're talking about a generational approach.

    "It's something that has to happen in the next 10 years.

    "What we can't forget is we still have a magnificent product. It's a wonderful product. It's not broken."

    One thing has become patently clear this week: Something needs to change.

    "What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result," Waldron said. "Many would argue we are insane at the moment in our game."

    http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,23749355-23214,00.html

    If it's best for the game I for one would support the move, but the big fear is another super league style "war" I guess, what do you think?
     
  2. Ryan

    Ryan Well-Known Member

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    Manly / Parramatta / Roosters / Dragons / Tigers to survive - Cronulla / Penrith / Souths / Bulldogs to rellocate or go extinct.

    We then have a Nor western team in Parra, a Northern team in Manly, an Eastern Team in Roosters, a Southern team in Dragons, and a greater western team in Tigers.
    Souths to Central Coast
    Cronulla to merge with Souths
    Penrith go back to the Western Reds (who made great profits before extinction)
    Bulldogs go to Sunshine Coast in QLD.

    Done - and done !!
     
  3. DSM5

    DSM5 Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Gallop is the problem.  The guy is ordinary and lacks vision. 
     
  4. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    This is all crap. If the main aim of the game is profits - fine. However this is a tribal game with tradition and history.

    Why should my team  or any  other team for that matter be sacrificed so that a few expatriates in Adelaide or Perth can have a team in a National Comp? Melbourne is a town of 4 million, it has a winning team but they are still losing money hand over fist and only survive due to massive funds input from News Limited.

    League is tribal, it is our game and if a few players want to take big bucks and go to England or France, see you later. It is not the game of big corporations.
     
  5. Guest

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    If Gallop had made channel 9 and foxtel pay the correct amount for Tv rights to the game then no club would need a leagues club handout.

    He is a newscorp stooge who will kill our game. maybe that it the aim and then Rupert can come in a buy the whole game for next to nothing. 
     
  6. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    The Bangalore Rabbitohs and Beijing Eels has a certain ring to it.  They can take their fans with them if they'd like.

    Ideally we could also take the logical step of relocating the Bulldogs to Beiruit, and they can play out of a relocated Lakemba. 
     
  7. The Wheel

    The Wheel Well-Known Member

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    As long as one of the remaining teams is Manly playing out of Brookie then I definetely support reducing Sydney teams.  First to go Souths, Bulldogs & sharks
     
  8. Guest

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    The bulldogs won't go as they have cash in the bank and are an original newscorp supporter.

    If Manly didn't have Max and Penn then we wouldn't exist now. 
     
  9. Jethro

    Jethro This space is for rent Staff Member Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I totally agree & if there is another super league type take over again (which I certainly hope never happens because I believe that the game should belong to the people and not an individual) then I hope we jump on board this time as the last time nearly sent us into extinction.
     
  10. Guest

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    Norths, Manly, dogs and rooters.
     
  11. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    problem is everyone says "I support it as long as its not my team".

    NIMBYism will never change, so for a lot of supporters it will be a case of making a choice, either don't support a team at all or support a team that is not their own, personally I might still watch the game I would not support a team. I did not do so during the NE debacle, and question why anyone would switch teams if the team they supported was not around an longer.
     
  12. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Will never be Norths AND Manly Tooks.

    The Bears are gone mate, we all know it, although I do admire the fact that they still obviously hold a place in your memory.

    Whereas for those who still have a team to support we remember them as little more than comedy value.
     
  13. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    It's a shame Jye Mullane didn't have Norths to play for.  He'd have been one of their superstars.
     
  14. Ryan

    Ryan Well-Known Member

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    Scott Fulton, David Vaeliki, Dragan Durdavec - I could go on mate..
     
  15. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    you could and you do Ryan :)
     
  16. Ryan

    Ryan Well-Known Member

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    Even with poor spelling:-

    Too-Shay ! :-*
     
  17. Garts

    Garts Well-Known Member

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    Scott Fulton, David Vaeliki, Dragan Durdavec - I could go on mate..
    [/quote]

    And to think you had him in every yart :-[
     
  18. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    Scott Fulton, David Vaeliki, Dragan Durdavec - I could go on mate..
    [/quote]  It's a pity Jye Mullane didn't have Norths to play for, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THEIR SUPERSTARS. 

    I guess we have to keep things really simple and obvious for our dearly departed Norths acolytes.
     
  19. Guest

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    Scott Fulton, David Vaeliki, Dragan Durdavec - I could go on mate..
    [/quote]

    Jorgen Rogers was the worst of all time.  In the Doug Rollerson class.
     
  20. Guest

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    At least as long as I can remember Norths then it means that I don't have Alzheimer's. 

    Unfotunately it also means that some of their performances still remain in my memory as bad nightmares.
     

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