This football bid bears serious consideration
This is my toughest battle yet. I played a lot of rugby league but the battle for an opportunity to bid for an NRL licence has been the toughest game of my career.
The history is well known. The Bears were forced into an unhappy merger with the Manly Sea Eagles after the Super League war, the partnership broke down and one of the League’s foundation clubs was left stateless.
But it is the future that really matters – and the opportunity for the new Commission to make a simple decision that will lock rugby league into one of its emerging heartlands while paying respect to our great game’s traditions.
For the past three years I have been working with a group of loyal supporters to establish the Central Coast Bears in the Rugby League heartland of Gosford, NSW.
It would be an under-statement to describe this as an effort of extreme perseverance and passion, the core ingredients in any pursuit. This has propelled our bid into a position of strong consideration with the Australian Rugby League Commission’s strategy for growth of the game.
It is our job now to show the ARLC that expansion of the game is fundamental to the growth of the game. We think our case is compelling.
If expansion is to take place, it has to be for the right reasons. Progressing Rugby League can be achieved in many ways, however if the game itself is to be sustainable then the attention to and the development of grassroots is vital.
For us to even consider taking the game to the far reaches of our continent and beyond, we need to be sure that there is a continual flow of top class players into the system.
The level of athleticism and courage shown by our players today make the game the spectacle that it is, and those qualities are hard-earned and not just everybody can play like Greg Inglis. The Central Coast Bears could catapult any one of over 7,000 registered players to the heights of a Greg Inglis.
We recognise there are concerns from some existing clubs that an extra team on the Central Coast will drain resources. But the reality is that leaving the Central Coast without a club will drive youngsters to other codes like soccer and AFL.
It is up to us to show the Commission that we will not impact on current revenues within the game, that we will in fact generate new income through sponsors and advertisers, and also through re-engaging the heritage of the Bears brand.
It is up to us to ensure that we do not weaken the competition by stretching player or coaching ranks, in fact we will broaden the base of talented players simply by providing an added opportunity to play at the top level.
It is up to us to prove to the existing clubs that we won’t impact on their financial capability, in fact we will only add to their bottom line when they host the Bears at their home ground. It is up to us.
But I am confident that the Central Coast Bears bid can clear all these hurdles.
You may have heard much of this dialogue before. While there has not as yet been any invitation from the NRL/ARLC to submit our plans for the Central Coast Bears, we are hopeful that it is just around the corner.
That’s why we are asking for all League fans to petition the new Commission to make clear their expansion plans before the end of the 2012 season. We think all those preparing for expansion deserve to know what the path to expansion looks like.
For 12 years we have fought the good fight. We have built the club to this point so that it is merely the stroke of a pen needed to bring it to life. Our membership continues to grow with over 7,800 members – with more than 26,000 supporters on Facebook.
We have a tailor made facility for playing Rugby League, Bluetongue Stadium which has to be one of the best Stadiums in the game for viewing, and don’t forget the massive event that would be Central Coast Bears v Manly at North Sydney Oval.
In so many ways, a team on the Central Coast wearing Bears colours could only add strength to Rugby League. It remains my toughest challenge, but I will not be giving up as long the red and black stuff pumps through my veins.
Do you agree with Greg or are there other areas you feel are more worthy of a new NRL team? We’re super keen to hear from you before comments on this post close at 8pm AEST
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…