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Wellsy4HullFC

Mergers in the NRL

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Just looking at where some of the Sydney teams are located in the NRL and got me thinking about why some merged with the teams they did.

I can understand the North Sydney Bears and Manly Sea Eagles merger (they're right next to each other).

But why Wests Magpies and Balmain Tigers? And why St George and Illawarra?

Campbelltown to Balmain is 61km.

Kogarah to Wollongong is 65km.

Wouldn't it have made more sense for St George to have merged with Balmain (22km) and Wests with Illawarra (49km)? What am I missing that's incredibly obvious here?!

Were there any talks of any other teams merging at the time? Could these teams de-merge re-merge with someone else if they wished?

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Apparently before the Steelers entered the Winfield Cup, most people in Wollongong followed the Dragons.

I could be wrong but I think St George's closest geographical neighbours are Cronulla.

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Apparently before the Steelers entered the Winfield Cup, most people in Wollongong followed the Dragons.

Makes a bit more sense. Also makes more sense as to why the brand seems to be 99% St George and 1% Illawarra after the merger (they basically tagged their name on in the middle, which usually gets ignored; see Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles!).

I could be wrong but I think St George's closest geographical neighbours are Cronulla.

Kogarah to Canterbury (8.5km)

Kogarah to Redfern (12km)

Kogarah to Cronulla (13km)

Kogarah to Balmain (16km)

Kogarah to Roosters/Allianz Stadium (17km)

Were any of the other teams (Canterbury/Souths/Roosters/Cronulla/Penrith/Parramatta) ever discussed for mergers? I'm guessing Souths would have been, having been kicked out for two years. Balmain to Redfern is only 6km. Could it have been Souths Tigers?

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Souths were ejected from the league as being a failing team from an inner city area. Look which team is currently top of the NRL. Sometimes these rabid reformers pushing amalgamation and or extinction for long established clubs really need to be challenged on how valid their ideas really are.

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Souths were ejected from the league as being a failing team from an inner city area. Look which team is currently top of the NRL. Sometimes these rabid reformers pushing amalgamation and or extinction for long established clubs really need to be challenged on how valid their ideas really are.

If the Souths fans were coming out to support their team in the years before their eviction, they wouldn't have been evicted. Luckily for them they decided to come out after! It's taken a lot of investment to get them to where they are now.

But that's the Aussie system for you. They don't do P&R. Just imagine if they did and the number of clubs they'd still have.

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Makes a bit more sense. Also makes more sense as to why the brand seems to be 99% St George and 1% Illawarra after the merger (they basically tagged their name on in the middle, which usually gets ignored; see Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles!).

Kogarah to Canterbury (8.5km)

Kogarah to Redfern (12km)

Kogarah to Cronulla (13km)

Kogarah to Balmain (16km)

Kogarah to Roosters/Allianz Stadium (17km)

Were any of the other teams (Canterbury/Souths/Roosters/Cronulla/Penrith/Parramatta) ever discussed for mergers? I'm guessing Souths would have been, having been kicked out for two years. Balmain to Redfern is only 6km. Could it have been Souths Tigers?

From what I remember, Parra and Penrith was mooted as were various permutations involving Souths, St George and Cronulla.

Souths and Eastern Suburbs wasn't mentioned as much despite their proximity. Weirdly, m

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Makes a bit more sense. Also makes more sense as to why the brand seems to be 99% St George and 1% Illawarra after the merger (they basically tagged their name on in the middle, which usually gets ignored; see Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles!).

Kogarah to Canterbury (8.5km)

Kogarah to Redfern (12km)

Kogarah to Cronulla (13km)

Kogarah to Balmain (16km)

Kogarah to Roosters/Allianz Stadium (17km)

Were any of the other teams (Canterbury/Souths/Roosters/Cronulla/Penrith/Parramatta) ever discussed for mergers? I'm guessing Souths would have been, having been kicked out for two years. Balmain to Redfern is only 6km. Could it have been Souths Tigers?

From what I remember, Parra and Penrith was mooted as were various permutations involving Souths, St George and Cronulla.

Souths and Eastern Suburbs wasn't mentioned as much despite their proximity. Weirdly, Roosters has virtually no junior base as I believe Souths bought them up during the height of its powers.

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From what I remember, Parra and Penrith was mooted as were various permutations involving Souths, St George and Cronulla.

Souths and Eastern Suburbs wasn't mentioned as much despite their proximity. Weirdly, Roosters has virtually no junior base as I believe Souths bought them up during the height of its powers.

Just makes you wonder what kind of mergers they might have come up with.

Canterbury-Cronulla-Bankstown-Sutherland Bull Sharks has a certain ring to it! #COYCCBSBS!

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On the flip side, had they gone a conference/P&R route they could have had two groups of 8 and a league below.

Pacific Conference:

Adelaide Rams

Auckland Warriors

Brisbane Broncos

Gold Coast Titans

Melbourne Storm

North Queensland Cowboys

Perth Reds

Wellington Orcas

NSW Premier:

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Eastern Suburbs Roosters

Manly Sea Eagles

Canterbury Bulldogs

Newcastle Knights

Cronulla Sharks

Penrith Panthers

Canberra Raiders

NSW Championship:

St George Dragons

Illawarra Steelers

Balmain Tigers

Western Suburbs Magpies

Parramatta Eels

North Sydney Bears

Newtown Jets

Central Coast Centurions

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Historically Western Suburbs started in Ashfeild which is a suburb right next to Balmain/Leichhradt... But in time the magpies moved to Lidcombe and then Cambelltown.

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On the flip side, had they gone a conference/P&R route they could have had two groups of 8 and a league below.

Pacific Conference:

Adelaide Rams

Auckland Warriors

Brisbane Broncos

Gold Coast Titans

Melbourne Storm

North Queensland Cowboys

Perth Reds

Wellington Orcas

NSW Premier:

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Eastern Suburbs Roosters

Manly Sea Eagles

Canterbury Bulldogs

Newcastle Knights

Cronulla Sharks

Penrith Panthers

Canberra Raiders

NSW Championship:

St George Dragons

Illawarra Steelers

Balmain Tigers

Western Suburbs Magpies

Parramatta Eels

North Sydney Bears

Newtown Jets

Central Coast Centurions

 

well, you know I just love that scenario. great idea.

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In 1999 the NRL had 17 teams, and was due to drop to 14 the following year. The 3 teams considered in most danger of the chop were South Sydney, Balmain, and Western Suburbs.

 

In an effort to encourage mergers the NRL announced that any merged side would be guaranteed a spot. They seemed to be encouraging mergers of the weak and strong clubs, so the weak ones would at least retain a token presence in the league.

 

I was watching the SKY magazine programme one evening and it featured a guy from Parramatta (probably Dennis Fitzgerald), explaining how they had agreed a merger with Balmain. Team was to be called Parramatta Tigers, playing out of Parramatta Stadium. Exactly the sort of merger the NRL wanted.

 

Possibly the next day, I switched on Ceefax. Among the digest items was news of a merger between Balmain and Western Suburbs, I dismissed it as a mistake. It turned out Balmain had struck a different deal at the 11th hour. This merger worked better for the two clubs involved, as they were entitled to an NRL spot, and it was more like an equal partnership, rather than Balmain basically being a junior partner.

 

This left the NRL with 16 teams and two still to go. Now it seemed that North Sydney were most likely to go with Souths, and the Northern Eagles joint venture was soon announced. The sort of joint venture the NRL wanted, but sure enough when they fell out a couple of years later Norths were out and Manly in, probably the fate Balmain avoided. 

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The mergers had nothing to do with distance between Clubs.
As posted by another member when West Magpies were considered western suburbs 130 years ago what is now considered inner suburbs were seen as fringe areas of Sydney, they had played out of Lidcombe for years which was middle West 50 years ago.
The mergers were not just based on geography, it was Club politics and the Tribal nature of the Sydney RL Clubs.
St George is not just a town in Sydney nor is Canterbury, Campbelltown  or Parrmatta, they are Key areas and local Councils that encompass many suburbs and Junior League Clubs.
For example Souths would have rather died rather than merge with their next door neighbours  Easts Roosters.
Parramatta were a much stronger Club than Penrith as Manly was with Norths, its not just about joining the dots.

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I'm only just reading up on all this stuff recently having just taken out a Premier sub and watching tons of NRL. It's clear that without these tough but necessary measures NRL wouldn't be the wonderful spectacle it is now and their "less is more" philosophy has clearly worked.

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On the flip side, had they gone a conference/P&R route they could have had two groups of 8 and a league below.

Pacific Conference:

Adelaide Rams

Auckland Warriors

Brisbane Broncos

Gold Coast Titans

Melbourne Storm

North Queensland Cowboys

Perth Reds

Wellington Orcas

NSW Premier:

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Eastern Suburbs Roosters

Manly Sea Eagles

Canterbury Bulldogs

Newcastle Knights

Cronulla Sharks

Penrith Panthers

Canberra Raiders

NSW Championship:

St George Dragons

Illawarra Steelers

Balmain Tigers

Western Suburbs Magpies

Parramatta Eels

North Sydney Bears

Newtown Jets

Central Coast Centurions

They could but happily didn't. Instead the expansion they're considering can be seen on the Wiki page with transparent, detailed information around the bids being considered. A total breath of fresh air and I look forward to NRL expanding within its franchised format over forthcoming years.

P&R I would hope is something that they would never consider. The spiraling success of their current format coupled with their 92.5% cap floor I would assume means it's something they would never give a second thought, and rightly so.

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They could but happily didn't. Instead the expansion they're considering can be seen on the Wiki page with transparent, detailed information around the bids being considered. A total breath of fresh air and I look forward to NRL expanding within its franchised format over forthcoming years.

P&R I would hope is something that they would never consider. The spiraling success of their current format coupled with their 92.5% cap floor I would assume means it's something they would never give a second thought, and rightly so.

Whilst I'm not saying P&R is the way to go (also not saying it isn't), I can't really agree with what you're saying.

Is the expansion of the league clear and detailed? It's been talked about for years, with various bid teams, yet noone has a clue when the expansion year will be! They keep delaying it. There's no word on whether it will ever happen!

And how can you say that the success of the competition is due to it being franchised without having it to compare to anything?

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Makes a bit more sense. Also makes more sense as to why the brand seems to be 99% St George and 1% Illawarra after the merger (they basically tagged their name on in the middle, which usually gets ignored; see Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles!).

 

Don't forget they do play about four to six home games in Illawarra each year.

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Whilst I'm not saying P&R is the way to go (also not saying it isn't), I can't really agree with what you're saying.

Is the expansion of the league clear and detailed? It's been talked about for years, with various bid teams, yet noone has a clue when the expansion year will be! They keep delaying it. There's no word on whether it will ever happen!

And how can you say that the success of the competition is due to it being franchised without having it to compare to anything?

 

Only one sport has successfully run competitions in a PnR system, any other successful comps are closed ones

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On the flip side, had they gone a conference/P&R route they could have had two groups of 8 and a league below.

Pacific Conference:

Adelaide Rams

Auckland Warriors

Brisbane Broncos

Gold Coast Titans

Melbourne Storm

North Queensland Cowboys

Perth Reds

Wellington Orcas

NSW Premier:

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Eastern Suburbs Roosters

Manly Sea Eagles

Canterbury Bulldogs

Newcastle Knights

Cronulla Sharks

Penrith Panthers

Canberra Raiders

NSW Championship:

St George Dragons

Illawarra Steelers

Balmain Tigers

Western Suburbs Magpies

Parramatta Eels

North Sydney Bears

Newtown Jets

Central Coast Centurions

Sorry, I think you may be putting carts befire horses.

Firstly, your OP wrongly implies the merger of some Sydney rugby league clubs was a grand strategy of geographic necessity when in fact in most cases were merely reactive attempts to make the best of a bad lot in the aftermath of the Superleague wars.

Secondly, I don't see what's great about your conference concept, bogged down by an over representation of metro Sydney teams?

Luckily for Rugby League the NRL's concept for expansion is not pins in maps atomisation of playing talent into more smaller teams. It seems pretty clear they are much more likely to push for some Sydney "franchises" to be re-located. Perth Sharks?

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Sorry, I think you may be putting carts befire horses.

Firstly, your OP wrongly implies the merger of some Sydney rugby league clubs was a grand strategy of geographic necessity when in fact in most cases were merely reactive attempts to make the best of a bad lot in the aftermath of the Superleague wars.

I think you've completely misunderstood my first post. I wasn't implying anything at all. I was simply asking why certain clubs merged, and asked about the affects of proximity in those decisions. I'm not quite sure how you've taken that as what you've said above?

Secondly, I don't see what's great about your conference concept, bogged down by an over representation of metro Sydney teams?

I never said it was good. I just said it's a route they could have gone down had they wanted to keep traditional clubs and stay away from mergers.

Luckily for Rugby League the NRL's concept for expansion is not pins in maps atomisation of playing talent into more smaller teams. It seems pretty clear they are much more likely to push for some Sydney "franchises" to be re-located. Perth Sharks?

Based on what? When was the last time an NRL club was relocated? How on Earth can you not only make such a claim, but pass it off as "pretty clear"?!

Would a Cronulla fan rather see their club merge with another Sydney club or relocate 4,000km to the other side of the country?!

I see no evidence of the NRL looking to push out anymore Sydney clubs. They're looking to expand to more teams (18) from all the stories I've read, but haven't decided when.

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It certainly has worked for them though hasn't it, Iv never thought mergers were a good thing until looking into the Aussie example.

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It certainly has worked for them though hasn't it, Iv never thought mergers were a good thing until looking into the Aussie example.

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Is the expansion of the league clear and detailed? It's been talked about for years, with various bid teams, yet noone has a clue when the expansion year will be! They keep delaying it. There's no word on whether it will ever happen!

The bit I saw on Wiki had a target date - 2016 and for 2 new teams I think? Regardless of whether any expansion goes ahead or not, the fact that the bid process is transparent and the bids themselves are in the public domain is very healthy IMHO. It shows clear direction and letting everyone know where they stand. The NRL are to be applauded for this approach.

And how can you say that the success of the competition is due to it being franchised without having it to compare to anything?

The comparison is the P&R (or at least, not far removed from and seemingly headed back there) Super League, which is a complete mess and facing oblivion (IMHO).

Do you think NRL would be where it is now if it had employed P&R following the late 90s schism?

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From Wiki and I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Gallop:

The National Rugby League adopted a hard salary cap model in its first season in 1998. The salary cap is A$5.8 million in 2013, with a salary floor of A$5.365 million (92.5% of the cap).

The NRL's stated purposes for having a salary cap are "to assist in spreading the playing talent" and "ensure that clubs are not put into positions where they are forced to spend more money than they can afford in terms of player payments, just to be competitive." [8] Before the 2012 season, the NRL's then Chief executive David Gallop said "The cap's there to make sure that pure purchasing power cannot dominate the sport... It means we can genuinely say that all 16 teams ... have a chance. For the fan every week, every game is a contest. That's at the core of why rugby league is so successful."

Clearly you can't operate such a cap floor with P&R, as I mentioned earlier. Franchising, the mergers and the cap floor are inextricably linked and without any of them it's hard to imagine that NRL would be the benchmark league that it is now.

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