In a perfect world, Rugby League should have at least one team in each capitol city in Australia, excluding Darwin and Tasmania. The game as it stands today, is far too Sydney centric to ever broaden it's horizons beyond the realms of the South Pacific and the North of England.
In 1995, the ARL had the vision of twenty teams and that vision was brought to life with sides established in Perth, North Queensland, Auckland and a second side in Brisbane. Some say there was not enough talent to go round and make a twenty team comp a viable option but with the outbreak of the Super League war, we never really had the chance to see the game blossom in Perth and Adelaide and Perth were on the verge of becoming established but were unceremoniously dumped from the competition and discarded as part of the truce between the ARL and News Limited.
This narrow minded approach has cost Rugby League any chance of establishing a foot hold in the western capitol with the Perth Glory, West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers the only sides competing for the sporting dollar. Rugby League is a far superior product to both AFL and Soccer, but instead of thinking of the games next generation, Arthurson, Quayle, Ribot, Murcdoch and co lined their own pockets to systematically return us to the dark ages of the NSWRL.
Enter David Gallop. So far he has made great inroads into getting the game back to where it should be, at the top of the food chain. His initiatives have included the introduction of a long awaited NRL game and a ticketing package that has seen crowds flocking back to the game in record numbers with attendances surpassing the 100,000 mark last weekend. This trend is set to continue right up until the semi finals as the big guns of the NRL go head to head on a weekly basis and the competition for positions really starts to hot up.
The NRL should take the also rans of the competition on a regional tour of the neglected parts and slowly start to reintroduce the game to the people who had the rug pulled from under them with a long term view of trying to establish viable teams in both Adelaide and Perth again. As a prelude to the match, two local sides should be invited to play the curtain raisers and slowly regain the trust of those disenchanted but yet curious fans by showing them that all is not lost. This intiative should be viewed as a five year plan and if successful, the NRL should then look to attract corporate sponsorship from companies like Telstra or Clipsal in Adelaide and Bankwest or Swan Lager in Perth.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Gallop is the man.