We all know I’m the first to bag Super League when I think its needed, but when it comes to expansion Super League officials obviously have a goal and are doing everything possible to achieve those goals.
The first signs of this push to expand Super League came when Welsh outfit the Celtic Crusaders were given all the leg ups needed to find their way into Super League.
While nothing was ever officially locked in, the way the RFL fast tracked the club through the grades before announcing they would join Super League from the 2009 season said it all.
Some will whinge at such a move, but its fantastic and just what is needed.
Now comes news that Toulouse Olympique will get similar treatment, with the club offered and accepting a place in Englands National League One with an eye on promoting them into Super League as early as 2012.
I’ve been critical in the past of the failure of English officials to expand the game, but they have really turned things around now.
To keep its standing in an increasingly globalized sports scene, Super League needed to expand from its northern England origins.
The success of the Catalan Dragons shows the way forward.
Listening to some people, you would have thought the Dragons were just a token addition to Super League. However in just a few seasons they have a Challenge Cup Final apearance under their belts and are looking towards the 2008 Super League finals.
Super League is far better places than the NRL for this type of expansion.
While the NRL has Australia, New Zealand and further down the line, PNG on the agenda, Super League has a number of French clubs looking to join the competition, they have had interest from Scotland and even Spain has been throw in as a possible expansion target.
Its that type of franchising system, with teams representing large cities or even whole nations, that is the way forward for Rugby League.
It must be a bit of a wakeup call for some Super League clubs like Wakefield, Castleford and the like. How will they survive with such strong competition and with such a small base to be playing out of.
You have to wonder how far down the track it will be when we see a club owner of small Super League clubs looking to cash in on the opportunitioes available in much bigger markets.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
Jan 20, 2020 0