The fifth and final part of the expansion series will see one of the most revered bids assessed, the WA Reds or West Coast Pirates. Regardless of where you live, the WA bid has support from all over Australia with many fans wanting a team based out of Perth. They have been around for a while and are doing all the right things, but are they ready for expansion?
Perth is an untapped NRL market that has a bucket-load of potential. To make help increase the profile of the NRL on a national level, a team in WA can not only increase revenue but provide TV broadcasters with another NRL game to broadcast and thus developing the intrigue of the fan. With big backers and a constant flow of money to support their bid, the bid team is very serious about forming a team and ensuring they are successful.
The bid will have the ability to scope for talent across WA and the Pilbara region and with exciting junior development already taking place in the country, not to mention a solid number of Perth locals currently in the NRL, they are primed to make inroads in the NRL.
For someone who believes in conspiracy theories, it could be argued that Perth is already confirmed as a future NRL team, given the number of games that are taken to NIB Stadium. Whenever a game is played there between any two sides, Perth fans show up in droves. They love their rugby league and are passionate about getting their own team into the competition.
The West Coast Pirates bid has ambition and resolve and are determined to make an impact both as an expansion bid and as a budding NRL team. Their strong junior base has seen them win the SG Ball competition and their priorities are to become a successful NRL team with a sound platform from an economic and infrastructure standpoint.
WA has a pool of talent playing across the NRL and Super League with the likes of Curtis Rona, Justin Poore, Cory Paterson, the Goodwin brothers and several others all active in rugby league in one way or another. With the ability to draw those players back to their hometowns if the bid is successful, it is very possible that the WA bid will have a handy NRL side when the ball gets rolling.
They have support left, right and centre, with former NRL player Wendell Sailor throwing his support behind the bid.
In an article on Yahoo from 2010, Sailor stated, “”I’m all for expansion and would love to see a side in Perth. There is a need for a side in Perth and they should get a fair crack,” he said.
For any Perth or WA rugby league fan, seeing that former high-profile players are getting behind your bid is encouraging and with more doing so and their current foundations, all signs point to a positive outcome.
Someone who is close to the West Pirates bid is a former rugby league player who enjoyed time playing for the Western Reds, the last team based out of Western Australia before the Super League war struck. Matt Geyer was a former forward for the WA Reds and he believes that there is a place for rugby league in the region and even back then, after their inception in 1995, they were doing all the right things.
The platform was laid and the work was carried out but when the Super League war commenced, the WA outfit went with them and folded as a result.
It was back in 2010 when all NRL clubs went to a vote to determine where the competition should expand to next, with the WA bid receiving a unanimous and resounding yes. Knowing how crucial the region of Perth and WA in general is and what it can provide for the NRL, the teams banded together and put their hands up to further increase the profile of the NRL and of rugby league on a national scale.
As the WA bid continues to grow and expand, their work in building a successful culture and junior based continues, with two more sides joining their junior system. The Kwinana Wolves and Ellenbrook Rabbitohs are the newest sides and are confident that they can form strong junior bases and platforms.
- Ricky’s View:
Does Western Australia need a rugby league side? Absolutely! No questions asked, they need a team and they deserve a team. Their bid team has been hard at work for several years, their national portfolio is increasing, their junior base is wide-ranging and expanding, they have a solid foundation and platform and continue to develop their resources and additionally, they already have a host of ready-made players across the rugby league world that would jump at the chance to play for a WA side. Furthermore, a team based in WA would be a godsend for broadcast rights, thus enabling a triple header of some sort on a Saturday night or a double header on a Sunday afternoon. The best way to put it is this; just give WA and their fans what they want. An NRL team!