With Perth one of the teams in the box seat to enter the NRL at the next expansion period, they have another strong candidate in their corner, with local Perth product Cory Paterson getting behind the push to ensure a Perth team is in the NRL .
Although he currently plays for the North Queensland Cowboys, Paterson is excited to be heading back to Perth, for his side’s trial clash with the St George/Illawarra Dragons this weekend.
Paterson, who was born in Western Australia, played rugby league in the state until the age of 15, when he was spotted by the Newcastle Knights, and asked to play for them.
“I don’t think we need another Sydney or Queensland team,” the 24-year-old said.
“I just think, why not make it a truly national competition and put a team in Perth?”
Whilst the option remains to extend the number of NRL teams to 18 for season 2013, it seems that 2015 is the more viable option.
“I do (think the NRL should look at a Perth team first). Every other major competition has a Perth side – the AFL, the basketball, the soccer – and they all seem to be going all right,” Paterson said.
“I think it would open the door for another television slot with the time difference … it’s got massive businesses over there with the mining, so there’s plenty of work and it’s a growing city.
“So I think it would be good and it would work, but I guess that’s up to the higher powers to make that decision.”
Although Paterson is passionate about a team in Perth, he is not the only one with previous connections from the Cowboys to the region – with current Cowboys coach Neil Henry, a former coach of the youth grades in Perth from 1995 to 1997.
“It was unlucky that the team was lost from there. They had three seasons there and they had a loyal following,” Henry said.
“Playing at the WACA wasn’t suitable for rugby league, but now NiB Stadium’s there, I think with the time difference it ticks a lot of boxes and there is a broad enough community enough there and money in town for corporate support.
“I’d hope it is one of the teams that comes in.”
If the opportunity arose, Paterson would gladly go back to Perth and play for the NRL team there, but he has reiterated that he is pleased at this point in time, at the Cowboys.