Perth gets V’landys tick as part of NRL expansion plans

Joel Gould |

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys is a fan of the Perth NRL bid, saying it’s “looking very good”.
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys is a fan of the Perth NRL bid, saying it’s “looking very good”.

Perth is firming to be a part of the NRL’s expansion plans after Peter V’landys gave a glowing assessment of the bid from Western Australia.

Speaking about expansion in Brisbane, the ARL Commission chairman talked positively about the bid that has a consortium headed up by Cash Converters deputy chairman Peter Cumins.

“I’m taking an AVO out on (Western Australia Premier Roger Cook). He rings me every day asking to put a Perth team in. Their bid is looking very, very good and maybe PNG isn’t the bid that is first,” V’landys said.

“There are also some very good bidders in Perth, Christchurch and here in Brisbane. It is far from a final decision. All the bids are fantastic.”

V’landys said it was not a  condition of the Perth bid that they link with North Sydney Bears, although he is a fan of bringing the Bears out of hibernation.

“It would certainly help their bid because the Bears have got a strong supporter base,” he said.

“They have also got the feeder system and juniors so it makes sense for Perth to look at that proposal.

“Thanks to (Warriors CEO) Cameron George and the Warriors the support over there is remarkable. Their success has caused New Zealand to want another team and there are two bidders for that team and we will look at it closely.”

The NRL has a plan to take the competition to 20 teams, which may include bringing in two sides initially in 2028.

Wayne Bennett and Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis are both supporters of a Perth team. 

Wayne Bennett
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett is a supporter of a Perth NRL team. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

“We are looking at a long-term strategy. There’s a lot of people who want to make a bid and there’s a lot of money that’s being put forward by a lot of people,” V’landys told reporters.

“If we do it, we do it as a masterplan and we will present the masterplan to our members. 

“To be quite frank, this idea didn’t come from me or the Commission, it came from one of the great visionaries which is Nick Politis. 

“He came to the AGM and said we are all kidding ourselves if we don’t go to 20 teams and he is 100 per cent right, and we have followed that up.

“We have to get into the deep end of analysis. We’ve had four emails today from people wanting to join the competition, it’s healthy and shows people want to be a part of it and shows having a franchise is of significant value.”

The NRL and Australian government had”productive” talks at Magic Round, but deliberations on the future of a Papua New Guinean team are set to continue.

Minister for the Pacific Pat Conroy met with NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo and V’landys for an hour on Friday night over the possibility of granting PNG the league’s 18th licence.

The Australian government is prepared to stump up $600 million over 10 years to get the franchise off the ground, with a team in the NRL-crazy nation seen as a way to strengthen Australia’s ties in the Pacific.

“The discussions were productive. We are aligned on a way forward,” Minister Conroy said in a statement to AAP.

V’landys also said the NRL was now “more aligned”.

“We want our members to be engaged and satisfied with our business case,” he said.

“If all the balls fall into place, it will be two to three weeks … once we have finalised the proposal from the government.”