It seems every man and his dog has an opinion on expansion and whom the next two licenses should go to. Do we head back west and finish something we started decades ago? Do we nail Brisbane down with a second team? Or do we toss the Bears a lifeline and give Central Coast an NRL team to support?
The expansion debate has been done into the dirt and it seems we have at least another six months of dreaded opinion to come before a decision will be made by the National Rugby League.
The Central Coast Bears bid is a tricky one. History hasn’t been kind to the old North Sydney Bears with CEO Greg Florimo and his loyal followers still hanging onto some kind of dream which lesser men would have quit on.
They certainly have the angle. This angle off course is Gosford and the surrounding suburbs. It smacks you bang in the face as you drive up the Pacific Highway. A booming area which salivates for footy.
But what goes against the Bears is how close Gosford is to Sydney these days. With the Central Coast and Sydney growing at rapid rates, the NRL sees this as a problem. Its too close.
Florimo believes history should come first.
“There is the proud history of the Bears, who have been around for 104 years, and we have a new market here on the Central Coast” Florimo said.
“I don’t know much about the Perth bid but we have had close communication with David Gallop for the past five years. We are very, very confident of what we can present when they call for bids. It’s not just the Central Coast but we also engage Sydney’s north shore as well.”
Florimo’s argument is already dead in the water. Expansion and Sydney shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence. There is no more room in Sydney for another team. There is no more room in New South Wales for another team. At least for another thirty or forty years.
We can be the pioneers that people in the future can look back on. We can be the generation that brought the ’national’ back to the National Rugby League.
The Romans became an empire because they conquered new ground. They moved forward with the times. They didn’t go backwards.
But the answer to the burning enigma of expansion may just rest in of all places, Hobart. The location of a trial match this weekend between the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos.
Melbourne and Brisbane are the answers. Success stories that are here because of pioneering men who wanted to play in the New South Wales Rugby League. These men, and especially Melbourne, took rugby league out of the dark ages and really put our game on the map.
If we are to grow, we must move. As a code and as foot soldiers of this game we love, we must evolve and think of the bigger picture.
The answer is Perth and the answer is Brisbane. Time has come and gone for the Bears and for the time being, the Central Coast.
This article was originally posted on FootySocial.com.au