NRL could expand as soon as 2013

NRL CEO David Gallop says Perth and Central Coast are favourites to join the NRL as soon as 2013.

In the biggest expansion development since the return of Gold Coast, Gallop has dropped a bombshell in today’s Rugby League Week magazine in Australia by saying he supports the Bears and the Reds for inclusion and strongly hinting they could be in as soon as 2013.

“We need to stay focused on looking for increases in the current grant and cap but the new TV deal will allow us to consider expansion,” Gallop told RLW exclusively.

“There’s obviously advantages in having two teams, not one. Personally I see a lot of attraction in having a team from Perth back in the competition.

“No doubt the Central Coast are a leading contender. History shows new teams only need an 18-month lead-in time.”

Known as the Western Reds from 1992-96, Perth were a victim of the Super League war, playing in the troubled 1997 season before being axed with more than $10million of debt at the end of that year. They were resurrected by the Western Australia Rugby League in 2006 with the aim of entering the NRL in 2011.

The Central Coast Bears would see North Sydney Bears moving to Gosford on the Central Coast, New South Wales and playing 10 games at Gosford and two at North Sydney Oval. It has been backed by a number of rugby league celebrities, including Phil Gould, Andrew Johns and Peter Sterling.

Gold Coast Titans entered the competition in 2007 after fighting off competition from Central Coast and the Wellington Orcas to become the 16th team in the NRL.

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