Sydney Roosters bossÂ Brad Fittler has called on the NRL toÂ move Sydney NRLÂ clubs to regional centres â€“ such as remote Queensland and the Central Coast â€“ moves that may prolong the lives of some struggling NRL clubs.
With the Sonny Bill Williams saga throwing more uncertainty around the NRLs future, such as finances and the enforcing of theÂ salary cap, Fittler said NRL officials need to now make the â€œtough decisionsâ€ or risk promoting a dying product in the years ahead.
At the moment, the NRL format includes 9Â clubs in the centre of Sydney, and many feel it’s these clubs that are most likely to feel the pinch should there be any increase in the playing salary cap.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to take a stronger stance,â€ Fittler said.
â€œI donâ€™t know theÂ logistics of relocating a team from Sydney (but) Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s only going to be for the good.
â€œWe have say 8 or 9 teamsÂ around SydneyÂ and even TV ratings inÂ Sydney aren’t doing as well as inÂ Brisbane.
â€œWeâ€™ve got strong locations in Queensland where we get huge followings and I donâ€™t think we enforce the hard plans.
â€œNewcastle are well followed and Iâ€™m sure the Central Coast would do really well with the platform of infrastructutre they have there, Iâ€™m sure the Sunshine Coast too would be a stand-out.â€
Fittler also commented on theÂ SonnyÂ BillÂ Williams saga, saying the SBW decision to go to French rugby is OK, but breaking a contract was not OK.
He alsoÂ angrily refuted Sonny BillÂ Williamsâ€™sÂ counter legal challenge on the NRL salary cap.
â€œIts a joke. Isnt SBW the highest paid NRL Player?â€ Fittler remarked.
â€œIt ridicules the system.
â€œItâ€™s a shame we canâ€™t pay these players that sort of money but our game doesnâ€™t allow that.