Bears push forward with 16th team

John Singleton has made personal presentations to news limited heavyweights Lachlan Murdoch and John Hartigan for a 16th NRL franchise to be located on the Central Coast of New South Wales and will play out of Gosfords North Power Stadium.

To date the Northern Eagles franchise, who are masquerading as Manly have been poorly received on the Central Coast and Singleton believes the people of the Central Coast want their own team, playing all their home games out of Gosford.

Recently exiled Canberra ceo Kevin Neil is heading up the bid on behalf of Singleton and they have had an external consultancy company prepare a detailed report for submission to the NRL and the other fifteen clubs.

Some CEO's have poured water on the idea by saying that fifteen teams is too many and the number should be pruned to twelve. That would involve the culling of more Sydney sides which has proven to be a public relations disaster for the NRL and it is sure to be an avenue not explored again.

The result of a 16th team in an area which now has a population in excess of 300,000 people will ensure the codes viability and will be enough to keep the wolves of the ARU and AFL at bay. It is crucial for the long term success of the NRL to have a team in one of Australia's fastest growing areas. If the NRL and fifteen clubs decide to reject the proposal from Singleton, they can assure themselves the game will also be a regional one played in the pockets rather than being a game played at a national level.

It seems the RFL and NZRL are very keen to expand the game but the powers that be in Australia have to prove they are one hundred percent behind nurturing and fostering the development of the game.