Manly fans urged to show up or risk relocation
As the NRL looks to secure a new clause in competitions agreements, clubs at risk of relocation may have no choice but to compete to stay where they are.
Cronulla, Manly and the Tigers have all been identified as potential candidates for a move to Perth, or north to become a second team in Brisbane.
All three have had varying degrees of financial difficulty in recent years. Just this week, the Sharks announced a $40 million deal for their leagues club which it hopes will pay off the club’s debt and secure its long-term financial future.
Manly chairman Scott Penn argued it would be “crazy” to relocate his club, citing the “over a million people” in its catchment area of Sydney’s northern beaches. That’s despite the Sea Eagles boasting the second-lowest membership rate in the competition, and recording lowest average crowd figures at Brookvale Oval in more than 50 years in 2018.
NRL Membership numbers (as at 23/03/19):
- Brisbane Broncos – 31,610
- South Sydney Rabbitohs – 28,345
- Parramatta Eels – 22,685
- Melbourne Storm – 22,217
- St George-Illawarra Dragons – 19,020
- Newcastle Knights – 18,973
- Wests Tigers – 18,895
- Penrith Panthers – 18,722
- New Zealand Warriors – 16,216
- Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs – 15,052
- North Queensland Cowboys – 14,811
- Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks – 14,801
- Canberra Raiders – 14,166
- Sydney Roosters – 13,676
- Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles – 11,375
- Gold Coast Titans – 7,647