Balmain Tigers legend Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach has called for Wests Tigers to put their hand up to be the Sydney club that moves to Perth should the NRL pursue expansion.
Growing the game in Western Australia has been a hot topic lately, with the success of the round one double-header at the new Optus Stadium in Perth adding to the chatter.
There were 38,824 fans in attendance on Saturday, with players and staff reporting a genuine appetite for the game out West.
Speaking on Fox Sports’ ‘Big League Wrap’ on Monday evening, Roach, who played 186 first grade games with Balmain, said the opportunities were there if a club was willing to relocate.
“Everyone will howl me down here, but a team like the Wests Tigers, if you have a look at it, they’ve already got half the name,” Roach said.
"All the board will howl me down and say ‘mate, you shouldn’t be saying this and you shouldn’t be saying that’.
"Everyone talks about relocation, until it’s about their club.
“I’m not saying they’re going to do it, I’m not saying they should, but here’s the positive - look at the new stadium you’ve got over there. One state, look at all the sponsorship you could have.”
Perth will also play host to the second game of the 2019 State of Origin series.
Roach continued on, saying the game didn’t have the depth of talent to support new teams and that a Sydney club would need to move if expansion was to work.
“There’s not enough players in the game if we go and try to make another club. One of the Sydney teams has to relocate.”
Fellow panelist Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield disagreed.
“I’m up for expansion and I think we need two new teams,” The Daily Telegraph journalist said.
“Reason being, we’re getting two billion dollars off the TV broadcasters, next time we go back to them we’ve got to offer them more, we’ve got to give them more programming.”
Former ref Bill Harrigan agreed with Roach that the current talent pool wasn’t big enough.
“There’s not enough quality,” Harrigan said.
“I’m with Blocker, relocate.”
With nine Sydney clubs in the league, there is no shortage of possible candidates should the league go down that route, but clubs are unlikely to be throwing their hands up to be the one that gets shifted.
Just off a great win, and Blocker went ahead and started the relocation BS again :brick: