Expansion of the National Rugby League
The National Rugby League is the top level rugby league competition in Australia. It was formed in 1998 after the merger of the Australian Super League and the Australian Rugby League. It originally contained twenty teams but this was cut down to 14 by 2000. Expansion increased this number back up to 16 and there are plans to add two more teams to the competition in 2015.
The Australian Super league and the ARL combined had 22 teams. When the NRL was formed in 1998 it was decided that there would only be 20 teams. The Melbourne Storm were the first expansion club, added for the 1998 season. This meant that the NRL would have to remove three teams. The WA Reds, the South Queensland Crushers, Gold Coast Chargers and the Hunter Mariners were all removed from the competition.
In addition, the NRL achieved further reduction in the number teams through mergers of established Sydney clubs - St George Dragons merged with Illawarra Steelers, Western Suburbs Magpies merged with Balmain Tigers, and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles merged with North Sydney Bears.
|Melbourne||1998 – current|
|St George Illawarra||1999 – current|
|Wests Tigers||2000 – current|
|Northern Eagles||2000 – 2002|
|Gold Coast Titans||2007 – current|
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Gold Coast Titans
Next expansion period
In November 2012 as part of the release of the ARL's Strategic Plan it was announced that there would be a review into expanding the NRL at the end of the 2014 season.
The following bids are currently lobbying both the ARL and governments for support.
In January 2011, David Gallop, then CEO of the NRL, confirmed he had spoken to a bid team delegate seeking to create Brisbane's second NRL team. If their bid is successful they would play at Suncorp Stadium on alternate weekends to the Brisbane Broncos. This team name in July 2011 was announced as the Brisbane Bombers.  brisbanebombers.com.au
In 2005 the North Sydney Bears planned on rejoining the league as the Central Coast Bears and basing themselves out of Gosford, New South Wales and will use Central Coast Stadium. The bid team plans to unite the current North Sydney and Central Coast districts under the one team. centralcoastbears.com.au
Central Queensland NRL bid
In April 2009, a consortium from the Central Queensland region declared their intent to launch a bid for an NRL franchise to be based in Rockhampton in the next expansion period. The bid is aiming to be a new club by 2013. cqnrlbid.com.au
Southern New Zealand NRL bid
The Wellington Rugby League have been working on a proposal and business plan for a second New Zealand based team since 2008. The potential club would be based in Wellington but also represent the South Island potentially playing games in Christchurch and Dunedin.
Papua New Guinea NRL bid
In October 2008, a Papua New Guinea bid team was launched with government funding and support. An official website was launched in September 2009 detailing the progress of the PNG bid and its aim to provide social and economic benefits for the country as a whole  pngnrlbid.com
In 2006 the Western Australia Rugby League announced that the Perth-based WA Reds were to be resurrected with an aim to re-join the NRL in 2013, playing out of nib Stadium. Currently they contest the under-age S. G. Ball Cup, with an aim to having a number of WA-born juniors when the bid joins the NRL  West Coast Pirates
Western Corridor Thunder NRL bid
In August 2010, the Ipswich Jets formally announced the creation of a bid team for 2013 with the future club to based in the Ipswich-West Brisbane corridor in order to capitalise on the massive population boom projected for that region. The move would effectively see the promotion of the existing local Queensland Cup side to the higher NRL premiership.
- http://www.foxsports.com.au/league/nrl-premiership/brisbane-based-expansion-bid-team-hoping-to-take-off-in-the-nrl-from-2013-as-the-bombers/story-fn2mcuj6-1226094039485 (viewed 16 July 2011)
- The Official Website of the Central Coast Bears NRL Bid | Home
- Central Queensland NRL Bid
- Central Qld NRL bid eyes 2013 kick-off - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- http://www.capitaltimes.co.nz/Second-league-spot-here (viewed 16 May 2013
- http://www.footyfootyfooty.com/2010/11/interview-with-wellington-rl-ceo-jason.html (viewed 16 May 2013)
- rleague.com - The World of Rugby League
- "Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Bid". pngnrlbid.com.
- WA Reds Rugby League
- Jets plan NRL bid | Ipswich News | Local News in Ipswich | Ipswich Queensland Times