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Former WA Reds chairman wants Perth based NRL team

20 Oct 21, 5:12PM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by News Limited Australia

Now that The Dolphins have been revealed as the NRL’s 17th franchise, the league will now look at its options for an 18th club.

The NRL’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Abdo has spoken recently about the league’s ambition to add yet another team to the competition in a statement following the announcement of The Dolphins successful bid.

“Seventeen is a natural stepping stone to 18,” Abdo said.

“At 18 we have another fixture that provides a whole other opportunity for our fans.

“Another 80 minutes of footy, another match in the round, another opportunity to grow fans in another market.

“It will always have to stack up, we want to focus on the women’s game and want to focus on a successful 17th team inclusion in 2023.

“And in the background, we will be thinking about growth.”

Options that have been popular amongst the media for the NRL’s 18th club include a second New Zealand based team, a fourth Queensland based team and a Pacific Nations team suggested by former premiership winner Matthew Johns; however, one of the game’s best growth areas in recent years has for whatever reason been largely left out of the conversation, with that area being Perth.

We will certainly see a Perth based bid within the coming years, but for now, there is minimal talk around a team being based in the capital of Australia’s biggest state, apart from the backing of former Western Reds Chairman Laurie Puddy, who recently spoke to Matt White on SEN 1170.

“For the broadcasters, it [a Perth based club] is the ideal situation,” said Puddy.

“Somebody’s got to take a look back at the history of the Western Reds and sit back and take notice because there’s been a lot of talk that the Western Reds went broke and I assure you they didn’t go broke, they got tipped upside down and torn apart.

“The details of that people don’t want to talk about for obvious reasons, but the Western Reds did not go broke, and they would have been still there today and successful had there not been the war with Super League.”

White then asked Puddy if he would be willing to try and revive the Western Reds and put in a bid to have them be the NRL’s 18th team.

“I think so, if the guidelines were clear,” answered Puddy.

Despite the lack of media attention Perth as a potential location for the NRL’s 18th franchise has received, it seems that there is still a real ambition to once again have a club based on Australia’s West Coast, and Puddy may well be the person to get it done.

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