14th June 2024

The NRL expansion program was back in the media again this week. Earlier this year, the Bears board adjusted their plans for inclusion in the NRL as 18th, 19th or 20th team based on the rise of the PNG proposal. The PNG submission is backed by the Australian government with reported funding of $600M dollars and is considered a geopolitical tool between the two countries. However, there are concerns that PNG may not be ready as the 18th team, and negotiations are ongoing. As reported in the media this week, it is expected that PNG will be admitted into the National Rugby League competition but not necessarily as the 18th team.

This development has fast tracked the possible inclusion of an additional team in the national league and speculation amongst media, fans and key stakeholders is once again a buzz. The Bears can confirm that our Chairman and CEO met with Peter V’Landys, Chairman of the ARL Commission, regarding the Bears proposal for readmission in the NRL. Talks have been positive and are continuing. “The last few weeks have been fantastic for Bears supporters.  Over the past couple of years, we’ve left no stone unturned as we’ve explored multiple options for bringing back the Bears.  But now we’ve narrowed the field down to one preferred partner – Perth.” stated Daniel Dickson, Bears Chairman. “We’ve been having ongoing discussions with the NRL, the WA Government and the Perth consortium about the Perth Bears.  The team would be based in Perth but would retain a strong presence in our historic home of North Sydney.  Importantly, with a couple of games at North Sydney Oval and away games in the metro area, Bears fans would be able to attend up to nine games per year here in Sydney.”

The Bears bring to any partnership 116 years of heritage, an iconic brand and colours and a club with pre-existing extensive pathways from Juniors, Development Squads, Junior Representative teams in both male and female all the way up to our successful Knock-On Effect NSW Cup team. “The professionalism of our club, the elite pathways we’ve built and our success on and off the field has positioned us well to achieve a dream many of us thought we’d never see – a return to the NRL.  But none of that matters as much as our passionate, loyal members and supporters.  You can show the NRL, Perth and our potential investors how powerful our club is and the great value we bring to the game.” commented Gareth Holmes, Bears CEO

Bears legend and North Sydney Bears Board Director, Billy Moore has a passionate plea for all the red & black fans out there on what is now required “Daniel and our Board, Gareth, Flo and our staff as well as our friends at CT Group have been working overtime to give us the best shot we’ve ever had of returning to the NRL.  But we can’t do this alone.  For the next few weeks the eyes of the rugby league world will be on the Bears.  If you’ve been thinking about becoming a member or coming to a game at North Sydney Oval, now is your time.  And we need you to persuade your friends and family to do the same.  If you do this, you’ll be able to tell your kids and grandkids that you were there.  You were one of the people who brought the Bears back from the wilderness and into the NRL.”

As a club, we understand the enormity of this moment, right here, right now. We understand what this means to our members and fans, and the fight that has been ongoing since 2000. Discussions about our return have been very positive at a high level and we look forward to sharing more details with our members as they arise. “We’ve never been as close to returning to the NRL, but we’re not there yet.  In rugby league, actions always speak louder than words.  Each and every one of our members and supporters will be crucial to getting us back where we belong.” Daniel Dickson, Chairman.

Click to view Channel Nine update

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