Infotainment Factory: Gallen slams NRL relocation/expansion plans

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Saturday, 23 March 2019

Gallen slams NRL relocation/expansion plans


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Sharks captain Paul Gallen has rubbished NRL plans for the relocation of teams or expansion of the competition, declaring: "Neither option works."

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said last week that moving a Sydney team was a serious consideration, or an expansion of two teams if new clubs were added. Greenberg said that a second team in Brisbane was at the forefront of considerations.

Gallen said he would immediately rule out the idea of an 18-team league.

“There is simply not enough playing talent to have another two teams in the competition,” Gallen told Sports Sunday.

The former Test forward fired up when discussing relocation, saying it was unrealistic to expect an existing team to succeed in a new city.

“Think about the teams in trouble at the moment. Manly and Cronulla probably the top two, Wests Tigers,” he said.

“How could you possibly relocate one of them two teams, three teams, to Brisbane and expect the Brisbane people to buy in and follow them? Unless it’s from the ground up in Brisbane, it will not work.”

Gallen was given the example of the Sydney Swans, who took 20 years to cement themselves as a successful club in a non-AFL city, and said that a new NRL team would need to find success quickly."

“I don’t think a team being terrible for 20 years would last in the NRL,” he said.

“AFL’s a little bit different – it’s like a religion to them, they’re so entrenched in it. It’s just not the same in rugby league. Unless you’re a successful team in the NRL, you’re not followed. If Brisbane aren’t a good team, they’re not getting 45,000 people turn up.”

Gallen said that he would support a bigger rollout of existing NRL strategies to promote rugby league in new markets, rather than expansion/relocation.

“Make every team take a home game to a country town. Take games to Brisbane, take games to Perth, let’s expand the game that way,” he said.

“Don’t bring more teams in or try to relocate current teams. Every team - and it should be funded by the NRL, it should be funded by a government. Take two or three hundred thousand dollars, take a game to the country. Imagine all the games going into the country.”

Sharks captain Paul Gallen has rubbished NRL plans for the relocation of teams or expansion of the competition, declaring: "Neither option works."

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said last week that moving a Sydney team was a serious consideration, or an expansion of two teams if new clubs were added. Greenberg said that a second team in Brisbane was at the forefront of considerations.

Gallen said he would immediately rule out the idea of an 18-team league.

“There is simply not enough playing talent to have another two teams in the competition,” Gallen told Sports Sunday.

The former Test forward fired up when discussing relocation, saying it was unrealistic to expect an existing team to succeed in a new city.

“Think about the teams in trouble at the moment. Manly and Cronulla probably the top two, Wests Tigers,” he said.

“How could you possibly relocate one of them two teams, three teams, to Brisbane and expect the Brisbane people to buy in and follow them? Unless it’s from the ground up in Brisbane, it will not work.”

Gallen was given the example of the Sydney Swans, who took 20 years to cement themselves as a successful club in a non-AFL city, and said that a new NRL team would need to find success quickly."

“I don’t think a team being terrible for 20 years would last in the NRL,” he said.

“AFL’s a little bit different – it’s like a religion to them, they’re so entrenched in it. It’s just not the same in rugby league. Unless you’re a successful team in the NRL, you’re not followed. If Brisbane aren’t a good team, they’re not getting 45,000 people turn up.”

Gallen said that he would support a bigger rollout of existing NRL strategies to promote rugby league in new markets, rather than expansion/relocation.

“Make every team take a home game to a country town. Take games to Brisbane, take games to Perth, let’s expand the game that way,” he said.

“Don’t bring more teams in or try to relocate current teams. Every team - and it should be funded by the NRL, it should be funded by a government. Take two or three hundred thousand dollars, take a game to the country. Imagine all the games going into the country.”

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