With the NRL Executive Committee looking to make an official decision on expansion plans as early as next year (2010), there needs to be a strong and significant campaign continuing to promote Western Australia as a viable and necessary option.
The NRL claims to be a national competition, yet has a high saturation of its teams residing in New South Wales and Queensland (... and one team in isolation within Victoria, ACT, and NZ). This competition, at present, is not a national competition, but rather an Eastern States corporation.
For a long time, Western Australia has been a strong support for many sporting competitions. The Western Force have the largest membership base within the Super 14 (rugby union) competition. The Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles have two of the largest membership bases in the AFL. All three clubs are amongst the richest (financially) in their respective competitions. This is a significant point the NRL needs to recognise.
Additionally, Western Australia has the support base for rugby league, it has the infrastructure (grounds), it has a solid community development focus (amongst its local competition), and has historically held a franchise in the past; and is more than capable of operating one again.
Presently, the National Rugby League has suggested an expansion into the "central coast" region. Another eastern states franchise, in an already saturated market. This will only further cannibalise fans and supporters from existing clubs over in the Eastern States, and is a nonsensical approach to solving the competitions market coverage and financial short-falls.
It's time the rest of the country becomes involved in the game. It's time other states and territories are considered. It's time for the NRL to become a truly national competition as it's namesake suggests. It's time for the NRL to compete with it's main competition (the AFL) on the national stage.
We, the undersigned, strongly believe the next franchise of the National Rugby League must be positioned in Western Australia.
We feel the current financial insecurity, and threat of other code developments confronting the National Rugby League will be further exacerbated by increasing the number of clubs based in the Eastern States region.
We believe it's time to honour the namesake of the organisation, ensuring it is a truly national competition.
The Support a WA franchise in the NRL petition to National Rugby League was written by Nicolas Hart and is in the category Sports at GoPetition.