Perth has become the leading expansion bid, with Western Australia looking more and more likely to join the NRL as the Australian competition’s eighteenth team by the start of the 2027 season.

The ARL Commission will meet ahead of June 26’s State of Origin game in Melbourne to decide which enterprise they’ll add to the league.

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Things have been pointing straight to Papua New Guinea, likely as the Hunters, being the eighteenth team to join just a few short seasons after the Redcliffe Dolphins, especially because the Australian Labour government has pledged to put as much as $600 million towards the NRL expansion project in a bid to strength national ties.

Instead, it now looks like Perth will be next on the docket in the next three years.

Interestingly, early word (mainly reported by the Daily Telegraph) suggests this Perth venture, led by consortium boss Peter Cumins, may be tied to the  Newtown Jets rather than the North Sydney Bears.

North Sydney had what the Telegraph reports was a “near guarantee” from Peter V’landys that they would be allowed to link to any potential Perth expansion, but things behind the scenes seem to point to Cumins and WA Rugby League preferring the offer put forward by the Jets.

Perth joining as soon as 2027 would mean that the expanding national competition no longer has to have a team on the bye round every weekend and would instantly get access to a new time zone too.

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It would also give PNG more time to put together a plan before joining.

The post Perth to leapfrog PNG as 18th team—and it could be as Jets, not Bears first appeared on The Sporting Base.

The post Perth to leapfrog PNG as 18th team—and it could be as Jets, not Bears appeared first on The Sporting Base.