Western Australian government in talks with the North Sydney Bears to bring beloved team back to NRL

Western Australian government is in talks with the North Sydney Bears to bring beloved team back as the NRL’s 18th club 

The North Sydney Bears could make a shock return to first grade footy as part of a joint venture with the Western Australian government.

According to the Daily Telegraph, WA’s Sports Minister David Templeman and Venues West chairman Peter Bauchop held talks with the NRL’s decision-makers in Brisbane during Magic Round.

One of the subjects on the agenda was Perth’s bid to become the home of an 18th NRL club in the foreseeable future. 

WA’s Sport Minister David Templeman has held talks with NRL’s executives in Brisbane during Magic Round over Perth’s proposed bid to become the 18th NRL club

Wellington in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Central Queensland are all understood to be in the running to secure the right to follow the Dolphins into the NRL, with Redcliffe set to make their debut next season.

An allegiance with one of rugby league’s most historic names, however, could prove to be a trump card for the Perth bid, which has the full backing of the WA government.

One of the founding members of the New South Wales Rugby League, the Bears exited the NRL following the 1999 season. 

They merged with Manly to create the Northern Eagles the following year, but the ambitious project folded two years later and Manly retained the NRL licence.

The North Sydney Bears haven't been in the NRL since they exited the competition in 1999 and are now a feeder club for the Sydney Roosters

The North Sydney Bears haven’t been in the NRL since they exited the competition in 1999 and are now a feeder club for the Sydney Roosters 

If the bid is successful, the Perth team will play its home at HBF Park

If the bid is successful, the Perth team will play its home at HBF Park 

The Bears, meanwhile, served as South Sydney reserve grade side from 2007 until 2018 and have served as the Sydney Roosters for the past three seasons, with two years left on their agreement. 

The prospect of the Bears establishing a team in Perth first emerged in 2018 and North Sydney chairman Daniel Dickson confirmed the club had held discussions with WA officials.

‘They are obviously attracted to our heritage,’ Dickson told the Daily Telegraph.

‘The path for us was always to go alone but they have reached out and we’ll listen to all options.

The North Sydney Oval could host up to six games a season should the bid be successful

The North Sydney Oval could host up to six games a season should the bid be successful 

‘We both have a desire to be in the NRL so anything is possible.

‘It’s early days but they’ve been great to deal with.’

The proposed bid would see the team play games in Perth at HBF Park, a rectangular venue currently home to the A-League’s Perth Glory and Super Rugby’s Western Force. 

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo (left) and ARL commission chairmanPeter V'landys are expected to hold talks with Western Australia government officials next month

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo (left) and ARL commission chairmanPeter V’landys are expected to hold talks with Western Australia government officials next month 

The Bears, however, could also play up to six games a season at their traditional home at North Sydney Oval.

First grade rugby league hasn’t been played in Perth since the Western Reds defected to the Super League in 1997 and rebranded themselves as the Perth Reds, before being ultimately axed from the competition due to mounting debts.

The WA capital will host its second State of Origin game next month after first hosting Game II of the interstate series in 2019. 

NRL commission chairman Peter V’landys and CEO Andrew Abdo are expected to hold talks with WA officials when they meet in Perth on June 26 for Origin II.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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