Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
For many fans Perth is the NRL’s logical next step for expansion and the league’s plan to have 20 teams by 2032 has made it a real possibility.
Earlier this month it was revealed that the NRL is looking to add three new clubs to the competition by 2032 to try and overtake the AFL and become Australia’s number one sporting code.
Perth has not had their own Rugby League team since 1997 and figures from within the past five years suggest that Western Australia’s capital city is once again ready to be a major part of our game.
In 2018, the NRL hosted a round one doubler header at the then brand new Optus Stadium in Perth that drew a crowd of over 30,000 and by the end of the year the NRL reported that grass roots participation rates in Western Australia had gone up by over 15%, a bigger increase then any other state or territory in Australia.
Since then Optus Stadium has hosted two sellout State of Origin fixtures with club Rugby League set to return to Perth later this year also.
Considering the NRL’s decision to take competition games and State of Origin to Perth it would make sense to assume that the league is building towards allowing the city to have their own team.
Last October advocates for a Perth-based NRL team heard the news they had been waiting to hear for a long time as the Western Australian government launched a bid for their capital city to be the home of a future NRL team led by politician Peter Tinley who put out the following statement.
“There are so many West Australian rugby league fans who are looking forward to the day when they can support a WA-based team,” Tinley said.
“WA has strong foundations to support an NRL franchise with participation in the sport behind only NSW and Queensland, and encouragingly, nearly a quarter of all registered players are female.
“I look forward to seeing the development of a strong third-party bid and working with them in securing an NRL franchise for Western Australia.”
Momentum is building behind Perth’s crusade to join the NRL, making it more of a case of when as opposed to if they will be successful.
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