Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
With the introduction of the Dolphins as the NRL’s 17th franchise and the league’s ambition for an 18th, it was only a matter of time before bids started being submitted from different clubs who one day hope to be a part of the NRL, or in this case, return to the NRL.
The North Sydney Bears have officially launched their bid to be the NRL’s 18th franchise, although, like the Dolphins, they would drop any geographic ties in their title and simply go by “the Bears” as they look to play out of multiple locations.
If the Bears’ bid is one day approved, then the ties to North Sydney would remain to an extent as the club would play four to six home games a season at North Sydney Oval, before taking the rest to regional cities such as the Central Coast, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo and Tamworth, and interstate to Adelaide, Darwin and Perth.
A successful bid would also mean North Sydney Oval gets an upgrade and the Bears get to keep their history.
Club Chairman Daniel Dickson has recently spoken to The Daily Telegraph about the Bears bid to rejoin the NRL.
— Dean Ritchie (@BulldogRitchie) October 27, 2021
“We want to take rugby league to the people, this is about doing rugby league differently, this hasn’t been done before,” Dickson said.
“I think this would be the best rugby league story in 20 years, we’re ready.
“The Bears have always been the team of the people so we should take it to the people.
“So when we say taking it to the people, we’re suggesting just calling us the Bears and playing four to six matches at North Sydney Oval and then taking it to regions such as – but not confined to – Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour and Central Coast.
“We would be open to a game in Perth, Adelaide or Darwin.
“We would connect with those communities and allow them some ownership and be part of the following of the Bears.
“People are moving to regional areas now because of Covid and the demographics of those rural areas – and Sydney — are changing rapidly and we want them to have a team to follow rather than one they satellite-follow, we want them to feel part of the NRL.”
Although the club would return with its history intact, it seems that if the Bears return to the NRL one day traditional North Sydney fans may not be happy with the unique direction the club is going in