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Volume 7 No. 149

Franchises

Bruce Hatcher
Photo: BRISBANE MARKETS LIMITED

Queensland Rugby League Chair Bruce Hatcher placed the rationalization of Sydney clubs "back on the agenda" after urging the National Rugby League to "reignite the conversation about relocating teams to Adelaide and Perth," according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Hatcher raised the issue at a meeting between the Australian Rugby League Commission and club execs in Sydney on Wednesday. He reiterated his views "as he spoke about the prospect of teams moving before they fall into the financial abyss." He believes "some Sydney clubs are on borrowed time." Hatcher: "I have a personal view that we do need geographic expansion. Every analysis I have done indicates to me that two Sydney clubs could be relocated to say Perth and Adelaide, where they then straddle two markets. ... I think it is inevitable. You can argue all you like about how do you raise the point, but how can you argue against the facts, the realities." More than half the clubs in Sydney "currently operate at a loss" despite receiving grants of more than A$12M ($8.6M) from the NRL under the new broadcasting agreement. Some of those clubs -- Parramatta, Canterbury, the Sydney Roosters and Penrith -- "have the backing of affluent leagues clubs." The NRL "has made it clear" it will "no longer prop up clubs" that hit "troubled financial waters" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/13).