It’s a magnificent stadium, the perfect dimensions for the ultimate viewing of Rugby League. Robina Stadium; the new home of the Gold Coast Titans is not only a huge boost for the young club – but it’s location close to the popular Gold Coast tourist mecca but right on the border of the quicklyÂ growing outer suburban areas of the coast means it will have the ultimate chance of creating a huge local following, but also becoming a popular ‘tourist’ ground with the hope visitors and travellers to the Gold Coast will take up seats for big matches.
Obviously a massive asset to the Gold Coast Titans, the blueprint for Robina is a massive test case for the expansion of the NRL. Should the new ground succeed in bringing in consistently big crowds and somehow tap into the tourist market that exists on the Gold Coast – the NRL will have the draw card it craves to totally tie up the Queensland market and allow for future expansion of the Rugby League game.
While there is a strong rivalry from AFL in Queensland, success from the Gold Coast all the way north to Townsville would ultimately edge out AFL and give NRL the box seat, allowingÂ for a moveÂ into new territory nationally or possibly internationally (expanding NZ).
Robina or Skilled Stadium as it’s called is a complete suburban village in iteself. With a 7 day a week precinct operating around the massive stadium, the village surrounding the ground is in the order of 200,000 square metres alone. With the planning in place for the development for over a decade, all the ingredients look right for a super successful development for all parties involved. Shops, eateries and on-going entertainment – it looks to be a vibrant hub in and around the Stadium.
Obviously the Titans results on the park will play a big part inÂ deciding the speed of success for the Skilled Stadium development, should everything fall into place – where will the NRL look next? Perth or perhaps the second New Zealand team – Wellington?
With the east coast looking strong, the NRL has the luxury of continued success for the Melbourne Storm – building more foundations in theÂ AFL heartland of Victoria. Perth is a natural next choice, a booming economy with good population growth – perhaps the Reds are ready for a revival?Â Junior and ametuer Rugby League outfits remain and there is good interest in the Western state.
The other viable alternative is a second New Zealand Rugby League side. Many argue the hostile Rugby Union territory of NZ might a tough nut to expand, but a successful team in a major centre such as Wellington or Christchurch would bring a much more territorial following from the Kiwis. Inter-state rivalry and more coverage could be a good asset to start toppling the Union strangle-hold.
Regardless, the future for the NRL and Rugby League looks bright. While expansion shouldn’t happen too quickly, continual growth and repairs of old wounds are happening slowly but surely. With a team back on the shores of the Gold Coast and NRL even venturing back into the USA with the Bunnies trial – its certainly a case of ‘Back to the Future’ for Rugby League. Who knows, in the current vein of growth we could eventually see a true national game.