‘17 to 20’: Paul Kent makes bold three-team NRL expansion call

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Before a shot has adjacent been kicked successful anger, it’s hard for adjacent the astir cynical NRL instrumentality to judge that the Vegas travel has been thing but a success.

Even for those watching from this broadside of the Pacific Ocean, the imaginativeness of the influx of Aussies connected 1 of the world’s astir celebrated strips has been oculus opening.

Add successful that the NRL has dominated the speech arsenic the footy codes up of the play and the travel has nary uncertainty been a success.

Whether it volition person immoderate meaningful interaction connected the US marketplace aft the roadshow packs up and goes location — that of people remains to beryllium seen.

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But aft Sunday’s treble header, the crippled comes backmost down to Earth and portion determination mightiness beryllium a triumph thigh from the bosses for a occupation good done, the existent slog of the footy play begins.

As issues volition undoubtedly originate from the 2nd their feet deed the crushed connected Aussie soil, 1 of the large stories of the play volition beryllium the game’s enlargement plans.

Earlier this week, the Courier Mail’s Peter Badel broke the quality of the NRL’s $420m enlargement warfare chest, which aims to grow the NRL retired to 18 teams and yet retired to a 20-team competition.

However the biggest talking constituent whenever NRL enlargement is discussed is the deficiency of endowment and extent successful the competition.

Currently with 17 teams with 30 contracted players, determination are 510 players.

To grow to 20, the NRL would person 600 players contracted by NRL clubs.

Speaking connected NRL 360 connected Saturday, Badel said: “We each realise that extent is simply a spot skinny astatine the moment. If we’re going to person 3 much teams, we request much players.

“He’s talked astir a New Zealand team, not arsenic the 18th squad — I deliberation that’ll beryllium PNG. But I deliberation we request to person a 2nd New Zealand squad arsenic either the 19th oregon the 20th team. The Warriors person been magnificent for the crippled but you person different New Zealand squad connected the South Island, Christchurch for example, and I deliberation they tin instrumentality implicit Rugby successful New Zealand and we go entrenched successful that country. I deliberation it’s a must.”

But for Paul Kent, a dilatory drip enlargement is not what the league needs.

He called for the NRL to instrumentality different bold measurement to turn the game.

“I deliberation the NRL should beryllium bold and denote they’re going from 17 to 20,” Kent said.

“Don’t bring successful an 18th, bring successful 3 teams. Go backmost and resell the TV deal.”

Badel questioned the depth, but Kent unopen him down.

“Don’t archer maine astir the extent — you get the players from wherever you get the players from, you get them from England, you get them from reserve grade,” Kent said.

Braith Anasta interjected: “There are not capable players.”

“If you instrumentality with that mentality, you inactive person a 12-team Sydney comp,” Kent replied.

Anasta: “We conscionable said ‘where bash you get the players from’ and you said ‘where you get the players from’.”

Kent: “You get the players from the inferior systems. If you commencement putting the wealth into participation.”

Anasta: “Are they putting capable into the grassroots and inferior systems?”

Kent: “Go retired to Penrith and archer maine if they’re putting capable successful there.

Anasta: “There’s a batch much teams that Penrith.”

Kent: “Look Braith, you can’t spell from 500 players to 580 players without immoderate benignant of dilution of depth. It’s conscionable impossible. You can’t spell from 500 to 501 mathematically without immoderate dilution. That’s a fact.

“But the information is until you turn it … And I’ll archer you thing other which they won’t privation to hear, but if they marque the wage headdress really enactment similar it should, which is to dispersed the depth, you won’t adjacent notice. That’s the information of it. If the wage headdress really does its occupation and really spreads the depth, you won’t announcement that the quality betwixt squad No. 1 and betwixt squad No. 20 is arsenic large arsenic what it could beryllium if they don’t hole the wage cap.”

The NRL had a 20-team contention successful 1998 aft the Super League war, but it lasted conscionable 1 play earlier dropping to 17 teams successful 1999 aft the Adelaide Rams and Gold Coast Chargers folded, portion the St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers merged to go the St George Illawarra Dragons from the 1999 season.

At the extremity of 1999, the contention went to 14 teams with the South Sydney Rabbitohs excluded, portion the Manly Sea Eagles and North Sydney Bears became the Northern Eagles and the Balmain Tigers and Western Sydney Magpies became the Wests Tigers.

V’landys revealed that an enlargement telephone would beryllium made “in the adjacent six months”, aft the league revealed past week it had made a grounds gross of $701m.

The ARL Commission president revealed the crippled volition perpetrate $420m betwixt 2023 and 2027 to guarantee much enlargement doesn’t cannibalise the existent clubs.

“We are spending $420 cardinal connected improvement and pathways, we volition nutrient the endowment to enactment expansion,” V’landys said.

“That level of backing is successful this existent five-year cycle, that includes payments to the states (NSW and Queensland Rugby League) and our ain expenditure connected development.

“We are putting wealth into places specified arsenic South Australia, Western Australia and New Zealand and past we person our ain improvement teams.

“Once we spell to 18 teams, we should beryllium asking, should we spell to 20 oregon not?

“And erstwhile you marque that decision, you request to person the disposable endowment and we’re addressing that.

“We request to support increasing the game, we person a batch of maturation to go.”

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