Over the past weekend two of the NRL’s Sydney-based clubs put in woeful performances that have unfortunately become the norm and prove that the league needs a major overhaul.
Last Saturday night the Wests Tigers were embarrassed by their 2005 Grand Final opponents the North Queensland Cowboys, losing 74-0 a little over one month after it was the Tigers who were victorious over the Cowboys 66-18.
Fans of our game were shocked when they saw just how easy it was for North Queensland to dominate their opponents in an effort many believed would not be replicated for a long time; however, not even 24 hours later the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs were humbled by bottom four side the Newcastle Knights 66-0.
While results like these do occur from time to time the fact that the Tigers and Bulldogs have been poor for so long suggests that the NRL needs to make major changes.
Neither side has made the top eight within the past five years and both clubs have often found themselves in the bottom four for the majority of most seasons with the Bulldogs finishing last in 2021 and the Tigers doing so in 2022.
This has become more than just a poor period for both clubs and proves that the NRL needs to take a serious look at how the league should be structured in the future.
— Michael Carayannis (@MCarayannis) July 4, 2023
It is becoming apparent that 17 clubs are just not sustainable when it comes to providing a close and quality product for fans to fully invest in across an entire season.
While the NRL looking to expand to new areas is a must, when doing so they must consider the expulsion or relocation of current clubs for the betterment of the game long-term.
An issue that could arise from expelling or relocating clubs though is the possible backlash the league could receive from fans so another viable option that would take a few years of preparation is the introduction of promotion and relegation, and a national second division initially made up of sustainable clubs from the current reserve grade competitions and expansion franchises.
This would require a few years of planning to give the NRL time to restructure team licences and develop the financial stability of the new league so if teams did face the drop it would not impact the club itself too negatively.
For a long time, the gap in the competition’s quality has been vast and while the specific examples given may not be the avenue the NRL goes down they must figure out some way to make the league closer and more entertaining for a longer period throughout each season.