Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by Virginia Young
Last October The Bears officially launched their bid to rejoin the NRL.
The club has not been part of the first-grade competition since 1999 and if they do return to our game’s national competition in Australia they will opt to not include the North Sydney location in their name as they will no longer be based there.
Older fans will be rolling their eyes at this but the fact of the matter is adding another Sydney-based side to the NRL is simply not viable and the choice to drop the location title from their name will allow The Bears to merge with other bids which can only strengthen their chances of returning to the first-grade.
No matter where they end up though it is likely that The Bears will still take some games to North Sydney each season.
Earlier this month The Bears added a page to their website dedicated to their NRL bid that states the following.
“The Bears national brand have a rich 113-year heritage and heartbeat following of die-hard Rugby League fans,” read the statement.
“A re-introduction into the NRL will engage the loyal club followers to invest their support back in the NRL after 20 years without a home team.
“Tribalism runs deep at North Sydney Oval with fans from Mt Isa to Wagga Wagga breathing red and black, with the chance to attract new fans nationwide.
“With such a strong brand and following, there will be obvious excitement for all Rugby League fans to hear the Bears aim to be in the NRL ranks once again.”
If The Bears current bid is successful then they will play four to six games per season at North Sydney Oval with the rest of their home fixtures to be played in regional areas.
Wagga Wagga, Tamworth, Dubbo, Coffs Harbour and the Central Coast were all listed as possible destinations.
The Bears intention to put a bigger spotlight on regional Rugby League is admirable but its sustainability is questionable as consistently travelling between several home grounds is bound to make it hard for them to develop a consistent following which could indicate that their main goal is to merge with another bid to secure a primary home ground for the majority of each season.
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