It is news that has been a long time coming, and with the junior and development system in Perth flourishing as they wait for the chance to have an NRL team – their chances have been boosted, with Perth Glory owner and multi-millionaireTony Sage, keen to get a team up and running in Perth.
In his corner, he will have Balmain legend Benny Elias, who has agreed to front the charge for Perth to have an NRL team – with the club now set to work hard to get one of those two spots in 2015.
“As a born and bred Tigers man, I find it hard to align myself with any other club,” Elias said.
“But I’m already on the board of Perth Glory and Tony has asked me to try to make this happen.
“He’s another Nathan Tinkler and he’s determined to get involved. Perth is crying out for a rugby league team and Tony is the guy who could make it happen.”
With the new Independent Commission set to come in, the NRL is keen to expand the competition to potentially 18 teams, with Perth being just one of many bids that will have a chance to be a part of the NRL.
For NRL CEO David Gallop, Perth has been a favourite expansion area of his for some time, due to the games booming economy, and the potential opportunity to have another televised game.
Perth had a rugby league team previously, the Western Reds – before they were made the sacrificial lambs of the Super League era, bringing to an end their brief stint in the competition.
“Perth’s clearly one of the top contenders for expansion although I believe it’s still a few years away,” Gallop said.
“Western Australia provides an extra live timeslot opportunity for television and would increase our national profile in an area where the economy is booming.
“Our recent research in potential expansion areas showed there is a high level of rugby league interest.
“We were surprised by the number of people in Perth who said they were avid fans of our game.
“I’m certainly open for talks with any leading businessman who wants to talk about expanding rugby league when the time is right.”
Should Perth get a team in the NRL, there are players who are from the area, that include Cory Paterson, and the Goodwin brothers, Bronx and Bryce.
Sage, who is a Sharks fan having gone to school in the shire, has 2015 in his sights, as the year for Perth to enter the NRL.
“It makes sense to run a joint operation with Perth Glory exactly the same as Nathan Tinkler has done with the Knights and the Jets,” Sage said.
“Same marketing team, same medical team, same media team all working out of the same area.
“Perth is ready for a rugby league team and I’ve asked Benny Elias to drive it from here and be the initial chief executive. I needed someone based in Sydney with the right business credentials and the right connections.
“I know how closely he is still connected to the Tigers but he’s keen because he wants to see rugby league become a national game.”
The Western Australian Rugby League (WARL), have hosted games in the past, and with South Sydney’s deal with Tourism West Australia, this trend will continue.
“Originally I offered to be a sponsor and take a corporate suite but my interest has grown and I’d now like to get more involved myself,” he said