Expansion expert says Sydney club needs to leave

Expansion pioneer John Ribot believes it's time for Sydney rugby league clubs to adopt a Melbourne Storm style vision and realise the club that takes the interstate plunge may be a major winner.

"It's time for Sydney clubs to think of where they might be in 20 or 30 years,'' said Ribot, the man who guided the Broncos and Melbourne Storm into the NRL.

"The ones who are prepared to make the bold move are the ones who could finish up better off in the long run.

"It was like going to Melbourne. We looked at where we wanted to be in 10 to 15 years. We ended up well beyond where we thought we would end up.''

Cronulla, Manly and the Titans are in the gun as clubs most likely to be axed if Channel 9 succeeds with its push to have a second Brisbane team included in the next television deal.

Bitter opposition is expected but Ribot said Sydney clubs should look at exploiting markets like Adelaide and Perth which showed promise during the Super League wars for teams like the Adelaide Rams and Western Reds.

"A team like Cronulla can still have a presence in Sydney but could do a deal to play seven or eight games in Perth,'' he said.

"Both Perth and Adelaide are big enough to work if they have the right people behind them. We are playing State of Origins in Adelaide and Perth. They have the foundations. They just need to deliver a team.


Craig Bellamy chats with John Ribot at training in 2016. Picture: Colleen Petch
Craig Bellamy chats with John Ribot at training in 2016. Picture: Colleen Petch


"There's nothing stopping Perth from approaching someone like (mining magnate) Andrew Forrest to get involved because he was so disappointed in what the ARU did to the Western Force. If you had him involved you could get a super team.

"In Super League Perth and Adelaide went really well. They were starting to get some real traction but the problem was in Perth they did not have a decent Stadium to play out of where now they would."

Ribot believes any team that spread its wings would be in a strong position to negotiate a sympathetic assistance package from the NRL.

"I would be going to the league and saying 'we are going to try to create a new market but it comes at a cost and we need you to help us','' he said.


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